iPhones: who really manufactures them?
Customers have been speculating for weeks about the features this phone may include, focussing h...
The iPhone 7 is expected to be unveiled later today.
Customers have been speculating for weeks about the features this phone may include, focussing heavily on whether or not the device will include a headphone jack. Product development has been kept closely under wraps, and Apple utilises well over 200 manufacturers to create its devices.
It would be unrealistic to expect a multinational company to not have a wide-reaching global supply chain, and Apple’s is particularly expensive. So where are its most important components made?
- Batteries: Samsung, North Korea
- Cameras: Sony in Japan (US-based OmniVision creates the FaceTime chip)
- Display: Japan Display/Sharp in Japan, and LG Display in North Korea
- Fingerprint sensor authentication: Authentec in China which outsources to Taiwan for manufacturing
- Gyroscope: STMicroelectronics in France/Italy
- Main chassis assembly: Foxconn and Pegatron in China
- Display glass: Corning in the US
- Touch ID sensor: TSMC/Xintec in Taiwan
The company refers to its products as being ‘made in China’ because China still produces most of its parts, but many of the biggest components are created on home soil in the US or in Taiwan. China has the flexibility and resources to deal with the demanding levels of manufacturing required by Apple. All of the design and software creation is done in-house, meaning Apple employs over 76,000 people in-house.
It is interesting that Apple chooses to use Samsung for a lot of its internal parts, since the two are fierce rivals. The release of the iPhone 7 comes at a time when Samsung faces difficulties; the news that the latest Note includes malfunctioning batteries is a blow for the company at a critical time.
Apple is one of the most successful companies in history and yet it manufacturers almost none of its own products, making its vast popularity and ability to charge high prices for cheap production even more impressive.
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IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.