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Apple to cut headcount and automate 50% of some iPhone assembly lines in the future: Report

Apple to cut headcount and automate 50% of some iPhone assembly lines in the future: Report

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FILE PHOTO: Apple plans to automate more of its production to reduce the number of workers on iPhone assembly lines by as much as 50% over the next few years.

FILE PHOTO: Apple plans to automate more of its production to reduce the number of workers on iPhone assembly lines by as much as 50% over the next few years.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Apple plans to automate more of its production to reduce the number of workers on iPhone assembly lines by as much as 50% over the next few years, a report by The Information stated. 

The decision was reportedly made sometime after clashes between workers and the police at Foxconn’s primary assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China in November 2022.

The order was eventually handed down by Sabih Khan, the company’s senior vice president of operations. The report also shared that Apple is pushing supply chain and production automation projects that it had earlier shelved due to the high initial investments required.

Normally, machinery that can automate production processes of the iPhone can be expensive and cost hundreds of millions of dollars every year. 

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Apple has reportedly pressured manufacturing partners to invest in this up-front, which met with success at times.

The “total number of employees it monitors at its manufacturing partners for work-hour compliance” decreased from 1.6 million in 2022 to 1.4 million in 2023, according to data published in Apple’s annual supply chain report.

According to the report, over the past year, Peter Thompson, an operations vice president at Apple, led automation efforts while working with Foxconn, Luxshare Precision and Pegatron. Machines installing metal brackets and flexible printed circuit boards onto components without humans have all started, said multiple sources.

Apple has been trying to move away from its dependency on Chinese workers and has reduced headcount by as much as 30% in some processes, cited an employee with an Apple manufacturing partner to the outlet.

In March, the Tim Cook-led company also acquired DarwinAI, a platform that uses AI in visual quality inspection processes for manufacturers to increase efficiency in supply chain automation efforts. 



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Articles: 2027

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