Hedging its bets, Apple has apparently commissioned a third contract manufacturer to build iPhone 8 alongside established suppliers and longtime partners Foxconn and Pegatron. According to a Chinese-language report in the Economic Daily News newspaper, quoted by Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, Apple supplier Wistron will get to build some of the future iPhone units.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly said during his campaign that he would force domestic technology companies like Apple to build its “computers and things” in the United States.
One time, he even openly called for boycotting Apple products unless the company doesn’t bring back manufacturing jobs it had outsourced to China many, many, many years ago.
Japanese outlet Nikkei is reporting today that iPhone contract manufactures Foxconn and Pegatron were approached recently by the Cupertino firm regarding the possibility of establishing iPhone manufactories in the United States.
The CEO of Pegatron, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer that assembles Apple handsets along with Foxconn, told Nikkei Asian Review he remained “cautiously optimistic” about iPhone 7 sales.
His comment targets a recent analyst report from KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo predicting fewer iPhone 7 sales in 2016 than the iPhone 6s garnered in 2015. Analyst firm Piper Jaffray, too, downplayed Kuo’s negative report in an interview with AppleInsider, saying it’s seeing similarities to the monster iPhone 6 upgrade cycle.
Taiwan-based Pegatron Corporation, which has long been Apple’s secondary product manufacturer after Foxconn, has begun automating production lines where gadgets for other companies are being assembled. As a result of increased automation at the Shanghai plant, the company cut back on new hires, said its chairman TH Tung according to Chinese media quoted Thursday by DigiTimes.
With a little more than two months before its assumed September release, contract manufacturer Pegatron is reportedly in the process of hiring as many as 40,000 workers as it makes preparations to kick off assembly work on Apple’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s refresh, according to a DigiTimes report this weekend.
Protek, a Pegatron subsidiary in eastern China, reportedly began recruiting workers at the end of June and will continue to do so until October, one month after the expected launch of the new iPhones.
Protek is planning to hire 40,000 workers in total, said the Taiwanese trade publication.
Pegatron, the Apple supplier at the center of a blistering BBC report last week, said in a statement Monday it will inspect all the negative claims carried in the report and will start implementing improvements to ensure the problems are solved.