24 October 2019
Apple has reportedly started iPhone XR commercial production in India. We first heard about the possibility of Apple producing new generation iPhones in India a few months ago and now, the latest Economic Times report mentions that it is finally happening. The manufacturing is being done at Foxconn's Chennai facility which is one of the biggest ones in the country.
The report says that Apple spent a "several weeks" producing iPhone XR units on a trial basis and once it was satisfied with the yield, it gave a green flag to the mass production. The reason behind taking a long route is that iPhone XR production requires a higher level of technical skills. Apple wanted to ensure that everything was as per standards before giving a go-ahead for commercial production.
Apple has been producing older generation models like iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 in India for quite a while. It is the first time it is manufacturing a newer model in India but this is not it. Apple has plans to add iPhone 11 lineup to the Indian production assembly but there is no specific timeline for that yet. Although considering that iPhone 11 is the latest that Apple has to offer, it should not take too long.
The local production of the iPhone XR will help Apple save 20% import duty that it pays for importing the units to India. This is a significant saving but it has no plans of passing on the benefits to the customers. It means the iPhone XR will not receive any price drop because of it being made in India. This is not surprising as Apple did not announce price cuts for older locally made models as well.
Apple is known for assembling iPhones in China and has been doing so since the release of first-ever iPhone but with the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, it has to find alternatives. Since India is one of the biggest mobile markets in the world and has its economy reaching a maturity level, it looks like one of the best options for Cupertino-based tech giant. Even the Indian government wants Apple to begin production of its whole lineup in the country as soon as possible.