Apple’s upcoming iPhone 15, the next iteration of their smartphone, has commenced production in Tamil Nadu. This move is aimed at reducing the gap between their operations in India and their primary manufacturing hub in China.
A facility operated by Foxconn Technology Group in Sriperumbudur is preparing to produce the latest iPhones shortly after they start rolling out from Chinese factories. This strategy is part of Apple’s effort to quickly boost the number of new iPhones manufactured in India.
The company, headquartered in California, is engaged in a long-term initiative to diversify its manufacturing beyond China. This step is taken to minimise the supply chain risks for their most crucial products, given the uncertain trade environment between Washington and Beijing. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has aimed to strengthen its ties with the US and position itself as a prominent manufacturing centre.
Prior to the iPhone 14, only a small portion of iPhone assembly occurred in India, trailing behind Chinese production by several months. However, this delay was substantially reduced last year, and by the end of March, Apple had manufactured seven per cent of its iPhones in India. The objective for this year is to bring the shipment timing from India closer to that of China. Nonetheless, suppliers remain uncertain about achieving this goal. Individuals familiar with the situation told a leading media house.
The extent of iPhone 15 production in India hinges on the availability of components, primarily imported, and the smooth scaling up of production lines at the Foxconn plant near Chennai.
The upcoming iPhone, anticipated to be unveiled on 12 September, is set to be the most substantial update to the device in three years. Notable enhancements are expected in the camera system across the range, and the Pro models will feature an upgraded 3-nanometer A16 processor. This new line of handsets is crucial for boosting sales, as Apple recently reported its third consecutive quarter of declining sales, attributed to weak consumer demand in key markets such as the US, China, and Europe.
Other Apple suppliers in India, namely Pegatron and a Wistron factory being acquired by the Tata Group, will also participate in assembling the iPhone 15, according to the sources.
Apple’s presence in India has progressively expanded through its Taiwanese partners, capitalising on financial incentives provided by the Modi administration to encourage advanced manufacturing. This has led to a tripling of iPhone production in India, exceeding USD seven billion in the fiscal year ending in March, as reported by Bloomberg News.
Having launched its first retail stores in India in April, Apple now views the rapidly growing Indian market as both a retail prospect and a significant long-term production base for its devices. During the quarter ending in June, iPhone sales in India achieved double-digit growth, reaching new heights. However, Apple has not disclosed precise sales figures.
After meeting with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to India in April, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook expressed the company’s commitment to expansion and investment across the country.