Apple has relied on its manufacturing prowess in China to meet the extraordinary demand for its products for years now. But, times change, circumstances change, and now Apple appears to be trying to venture out of the region.
Or at least reduce some of its dependency on it. We know that Apple already has plans to move some of its production out of China, with Vietnam and India on the list for new sites. But, according to a report from Nikkei today, Apple is looking to manufacture a “significant number” of iPad units in Vietnam. We’ve previously reported that Foxconn will move some of its assembly of iPads and MacBooks to Vietnam, but that would be a minor part of the broader picture.
This report indicates that this would be a larger shift in planning. Apple could make the transition in the middle part of this year, according to the report. And it’s not just iPads, either. The iPhone 12 series may start being assembled in a larger capacity in India (like the iPhone 11) sooner rather than later:
Sources said iPad production will begin in Vietnam as early as the middle of this year, marking the first time that the world’s biggest tablet maker will build a significant number of the devices outside of China. The California tech giant is also stepping up iPhone production in India, its second-largest production base for the iconic device, sources added, with plans to start producing the latest iPhone 12 series — the company’s first 5G smartphones — there as soon as this quarter.
The report sheds some light on the decisions behind the move. The ongoing trade battle between the United States and China is a big part of it, for example. Even if trade tensions are expected to ease up in the near future, Apple’s still looking to diversify its supply chain.
iPhones and iPads aren’t the only devices seeing a change to manufacturing, either. The report indicates that Apple may move HomePod mini assembly out of China in the future as well. And we’ve heard in the past that AirPods Pro may see manufacturing moved to Vietnam as well.
This does echo a report from Reuters late last year, of course. So this does appear to be something Apple is moving forward with.