Apple, the renowned US-based technology giant, has announced plans to manufacture certain models of the upcoming iPhone 15 series in India, aiming to reduce its reliance on China as a production hub. The highly anticipated iPhone 15 is slated for launch in September of this year. This move by Apple comes as Tata Group, one of India’s prominent conglomerates, has entered into a manufacturing agreement with the tech giant for the production of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus in India. TrendForce, a Taiwanese market intelligence provider, has reported that Tata will become Apple’s fourth manufacturing partner for iPhones in India. It is yet unknown what proportion of the total iPhone units will be produced in collaboration with Tata, but it is worth noting that Apple currently works with three other manufacturing partners in India, namely Wistron, Foxconn, and Pegatron.
The diversification of supply sources has become increasingly important for Apple due to geopolitical factors and the disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic. India has emerged as a prominent case for such production diversification. According to TrendForce, Tata Group is expected to become the fourth iPhone assembler for Apple. Initially, Tata Group will handle smaller orders, indicating that they will receive limited quantities of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. The report by TrendForce highlights three potential implications of Apple’s relocation strategy.
Firstly, the involvement of India in the manufacturing process suggests that the country could be among the first to receive shipments of the new iPhone series, set to launch in September. Secondly, Tata’s entry into the iPhone assembly business may lead to Wistron’s exit from the Indian market. It is noteworthy that Tata Group has already acquired Wistron’s iPhone plant in Bengaluru. Lastly, Tata will join Foxconn, Luxshare, and Pegatron as the fourth company engaged in iPhone assembly operations in India. This assembly business began in 2020 with the production of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
TrendForce’s report emphasizes that although Tata’s share of assembly orders for various iPhone models is expected to be only 5% in 2023, it demonstrates an increasing trend of Apple’s production relocation. As for the iPhone 15 series, it is anticipated to debut in September this year. The 2023 iPhone lineup is speculated to include four models: the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. These smartphones will be powered by Apple’s advanced A16 Bionic chipset and will operate on the latest iOS software.