Apple on a hiring spree for Taiwan’s upcoming R&D center

Apple recruiter video (African American woman walks holding iPad)

Earlier in the month, VR-Zone learned Apple was looking to establish a research and development (R&D) center in Taiwan where talented engineers will be working on the next-generation of iPhone product development, reporting directly to Apple’s headquarters in California.

DigiTimes today expands on the story, reporting the company is now actively recruiting engineers to fill a bunch of various roles, including packaging, quality control, hardware and software. Apple’s recruiting efforts are said to have already attracted the attention of many IT engineers in Taiwan…

According to the DigiTimes story, the positions Apple advertised on its website include senior packaging engineer, reliability engineering manager, senior software instrumentation engineer, senior AC-DC design engineer and sensing system hardware engineer.

The publication speculates the iPhone maker may even establish a maintenance center for after-sales services.

But why bother building a far-flung R&D center in Taiwan?

The publication reminds us Taiwan is well-known for low labor costs and is home to some really talented engineers. Let’s not forget that Apple happens to source the bulk of components for its products from the makers located in Taiwan.

Moreover, DigiTimes writes, Tim Cook & Co. are apparently considering forming partnerships with contract manufacturers Wistron and Compal Communications “to diversify risks and lower costs”.

For the time being, Apple remains dependent on Foxconn – the world’s top manufacturer and assembler of consumer electronics – and its rival Pegatron Technology for product assembly work.

Taiwan-based TSMC, the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry, is also an important upcoming partner. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple and TSMC have recently signed an agreement which will see the latter produce iOS device chips beginning in 2014.

DigiTimes in a separate report earlier this week claimed Apple has entrusted TSMC with building fingerprint sensors for the upcoming iPhone 5S refresh. The sensors are apparently being packaged at TSMC’s subsidiary Xintec.

However, low yield rates have reportedly prompted Apple to dispatch engineers to Xintec in order to deal with the issue. It’s unclear whether the manufacturing challenges have been dealt with in a timely manner.

As you know, Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 5S at a September 10 media event, with a rumored mid-tier iPhone 5C handset also a likely possibility.