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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Apple’s Made-In-India iPhone to be in market by mid next year: Here’s all the details

Good news for the Indian tech aficionados. Made-In-India iPhone 12 will be available in the market by the middle of next year. According to a report, stepping up its thrust on manufacturing in India, American tech giant, Apple, is planning to roll out the locally made models of its upcoming iPhone 12, the seventh iPhone model to be made in India. This is no doubt a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atmanirbhar initiative.

Here’s all the details about iPhone 12’s Made-In-India initiative described in 6 points

1. What’s going on on the iPhone 12 manufacturing front?

A Business Standard report states that the local production of the product is expected to start by the end of this year. Till recently, iPhone production in India was limited to older models at a lower price tag. So far, Apple has localised production of five smartphone models. They are SE, 6S, 7, XR and 11. Apple’s manufacturing partner, Wistron, a Taiwan-based company, has begun a trial run for the iPhone 12 project near a hub in Bangalore. The partner company has also invested Rs 2900 crore for the initiative and recruit 10,000 workers for it.

2. What’s the present status of work?

Nearly 1,000 workers are already at work at present, according to a report. The manufacturing facility will be fully operational from October.

India Apple iPhone
The Winstron office in Bangalore. Photo: Twitter

Wistron’s production process is aiming to achieve Apple’s mid-term target, rolling out latest models fast into its ‘Made in India’ portfolio. A plant at Narsapura in Karnataka is likely to be dedicated for the upcoming product. Also, iPhone SE (2020) will be produced at the existing plant in Bangalore.

3. Covid-19 delayed the iPhone 12 initiative

Quite obviously, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced Apple Inc. to delay the launch of its iPhone12 product by a couple of weeks. “Last year, we started selling new iPhones in late September, this year we expect supply to be available a few weeks later,” Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in a report by Times Now.

4. China’s loss, India’s gain

These reports suggest that the production of new iPhone12 in India is a well-calculated strategy of Apple to shed dependence on China. We all know how Beijing-Washington ties have soured amid the Covid-19 pandemic. India too is witnessing its ties with China worsening, especially after the Galwan valley clash in eastern Ladakh in May in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. India has also banned over 60 Chinese apps and has enforced special regulations curbing the previous unhindered import of Chinese products for the Indian market. Also, Apple wants to take advantage of the benefits under the Centre’s production linked incentive (PLI) scheme. Therefore, as of now, it seems things are going in India’s favour.

In terms of economy, it is beneficial for India. Reports suggest that Foxconn plans to invest up to $1 billion to expand its India factory where it assembles iPhone models. Pegatron, which is the second-largest iPhone assembler after Foxconn in India, will make an investment to establish a subsidiary in India.

5. Apple’s growth in India

According to a report, India’s importance to Apple as a manufacturing center has grown a lot since 2016 when the first Foxconn plant was launched. The goal then was simply to make older and lower-end iPhone models for local sale. Apple’s primary production capabilities remained firmly centered in China. But things have changed drastically since then. Apple started having an uneasy relationship with China and it exposed the risks of being overly dependent on a single country for the vast production.

The substantial tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on Chinese-manufactured products led to diversification of manufacturing. The process of iPhone production was dispersed around the globe when the Covid-19 hit China, shutting down iPhone production in the country. Eventually, Apple ramped up its efforts, with talk of shifting its production from China to India over the next five years, with most of the production destined for export.

6. Boost to India’s expertise

Apple’s moving to India to manufacture its products is a vote of confidence that India is ready and competitive for high-end electronics manufacturing. As a report by ThePrint rightly points out, “If things go well — and the government has an important role to play in this — Apple’s main manufacturing partners could expand their presence in India, employing tens of thousands of people, and growing the ecosystem that can support millions of livelihoods. That in turn can raise not only productivity, but also offer much higher quality workplaces and living conditions for India’s factory workers.” Amid this pandemic crisis, the world’s manufacturing companies are looking for alternatives to their high-risk China-dependent supply chains. Apple’s decision to assemble the iPhone 12 locally makes India’s candidature a lot more credible in the post-Covid world.

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