The latest edition of Apple’s flagship smartphone, the iPhone 15, available in stores on the first day of global sales, may be manufactured in India, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified people aware of the plans.
Apple is set to roll out the iPhone15, and its upgraded smartwatches and AirPods at its much-awaited ‘Wonderlust’ event on Tuesday. Global sales of Apple iPhones usually start around 10 days after the company launches them.
The Cupertino, California-based company manufactures most of its iPhones in China, but has stepped up the assembly of iPhones in India to about 7% by March end.
India has gained from Apple’s push to diversify production of its iPhones in the wake of plummeting trade ties between the US and China.
While updating its list of suppliers across the world this May, Apple said, “The Apple supplier list represents 98% of our direct spend for materials, manufacturing, and assembly of our products worldwide for fiscal 2022.”
An analysis of the list showed that while Apple was reducing its reliance on China, it added three more vendors in India, taking the total number of suppliers to 12. Foxconn and Pegatron are among the biggest Apple suppliers in India.
IPhone sales in India grew in the double digits in the April-to-June quarter to a new high, Apple executives said in August without disclosing precise numbers. Still, the phones are affordable for only a few as iPhone sales account for a 3% share of the market.
In April this year, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook inaugurated the company’s first India retail store in Mumbai, followed by another one in New Delhi.
The latest addition to the iPhone stable, meanwhile, is likely to see the biggest update in at least three years. The iPhone 15 is likely to see upgrades to its camera, and the more advanced iPhone 15 Pro models are expected to sport an improved and tiny 3-nanometer processor.
The new models are crucial to reviving the company’s sales, which shrank for a third consecutive quarter in the April-to-June period, dragged down by weak demand in the US, Europe and China.
Adding to Apple’s woes, its shares tanked last week after Beijing banned Chinese officials and state employees from using iPhones, in a move that some estimates suggest could reduce the tech giant’s iPhone sales by at least 20 million units in China.
The ban coincided with Chinese firm Huawei Technologies making a comeback with the launch of its new Mate 60 Pro handset, which is powered by an advanced chip despite sweeping US sanctions on the sale of its most “sophisticated semiconductors” to Beijing.
An intrigued US has sought details of the composition of the processor in the Mate 60 Pro handset that was manufactured by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., a firm blacklisted by the US.
Huawei has reported brisk sales since the launch of the Mate 60 Pro, which boasts features that rival Apple’s iPhone. Speed tests showed that the Mate 60 Pro has download speeds surpassing those of top-tier 5G phones in China.