Halfway through this year, Apple will reportedly start iPad production in a new country
Last November, we passed along a report from Reuters claiming that Apple was in discussions with its top contract manufacturer Foxconn about moving some iPad production to Vietnam. The goal is to reduce the number of devices that Apple has manufactured in China. A report published today by Nikkei Asia (via The Verge) parrots the November story by saying that Apple could start producing iPads in Vietnam with one new wrinkle added. The Vietnamese assembly lines could start humming during the middle of this year.
While it plans on reducing production of its tablets in China, Apple also will reportedly increase production of certain iPhone models in India. The latter kills two birds with one stone. First, it reduces the number of handsets Apple has assembled in China, and secondly it reduces the number of iPhone units that face India's import tax. This keeps the price of these models down (important for a developing country like India) and should help Apple's stronger showing in India to continue. While the most current model that Apple produces in India is 2019's iPhone 11, as soon as the current quarter we could see the iPhone 12 roll off of assembly lines in India.
Apple to reportedly move some iPad production to China by the middle of this year
Apple started planning to move production of some of its devices out of China once then-President Donald Trump implemented a import tax on products shipped to the U.S. from that country. While several Apple products and accessories were impacted by this tariff, the iPhone managed to avoid getting hit with the tax. When the U.S. and China signed phase one of a trade agreement a little over a year ago, some tariffs on products imported to the U.S. from China were canceled. And since there is no indication about whether the Biden administration will continue to pressure Chinese tech firms, Apple is doing the smart thing by continuing to plan on moving production out of the country. Additionally, labor costs are rising in China which gives Apple another good reason to move production.
Powered by the 5nm A14 Bionic chipset, the latest Apple iPad Air has been well-received
Vietnam has come a long way and is now an up and coming tech center. In July 2019, Apple started trial production of the AirPods in the country. Last year, a report concluded that 30% of Apple's 2020 AirPods production would take place in Vietnam..
One of the most important things that Apple needs to see when selecting a country to produce its devices in is proximity to a proven supply chain. Apple needs suppliers that will deliver parts and components in the quantity and quality that the company needs.