Apple’s US manufacturing activities increased between 2020 and 2021, but most of it is likely for testing.
Apple’s current supplier list lists 48 US production sites, up from 25 a year ago.
iOs products are mostly built in China, but the business is diversifying. India and Vietnam are important secondary production hubs for the corporation.
The Mac Pro was the sole US-assembled product. The 2013 model was built in Apple’s home nation, and the 2019 model was, too (after some uncertainty and an asterisk), using components from a dozen US suppliers across eight states.
Bloomberg mentions the surge in US manufacturing sites on Apple’s newest Supplier List.
As of September 2021, 48 of Apple’s 180 suppliers had production sites in the U.S., up from 25 a year earlier. California has 30 locations, up from 10 a year earlier.
On the list are Qualcomm Inc., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Foxconn Technology Group, which puts together products, and Sony Group Corp., which makes image sensors.
“Manufacturing” includes small-scale test production, which is likely the majority of US manufacturing.
Apple’s exact processes are confidential, although two to three of them are likely done in the US. Apple may have transferred more early testing to the US due to COVID-19 lockdowns in China.
Early models of new products, called prototypes, are made to test out various ideas. They often fall into one of two groups: design prototypes or practical prototypes.
Design prototypes, also known as “looks-like” representations, are inert representations used to see how a specific design would appear and perform.Functional prototypes, often known as “works-like,” are, as their name implies, functional iterations of the technology. However, they typically don’t resemble the finished article at all.
In its own design facilities, Apple creates prototypes using tools like 3D printing and computer-controlled aluminium machining.
Engineering Validation Test (EVT)
At this stage, the design prototype and the working prototype are put together to make devices that use the right materials and look and work a lot like the final product.
The goal of the EVT is to find out if it is possible to make the product as planned and if there could be any problems with making it.
EVT devices are normally produced in batches of 100 to 1,000, and it is likely that some of these are produced in the US.
Design Validation Test (DVT)
These are goods that are produced utilising the same procedures that will be applied on the final assembly line and for testing prospective substitutes. It is created in every variation (colour, capacity, etc.). Apple often produces amounts in the low one-tenth of a million. The US and China may each contribute to this project.
Production Validation Test (PVT)
In order to confirm that quality, yields, timings, and costs are all as anticipated, this last test phase is carried out on the real production lines. This is carried out in every manufacturing nation.
Apple’s hybrid approaches
Typically, Apple would dispatch its own engineers to oversee and control those stages carried out in China (or elsewhere). This was made difficult or impossible by COVID-19 lockdowns, so Apple created new remote working procedures that included live-streaming from manufacturing lines.
The insiders claimed that the iPhone manufacturer has also embraced some technologies, such as live-streaming, that enable staff members headquartered at its Cupertino, California, headquarters to remotely watch what is happening on the production floors in China. Using augmented reality tools and iPads as a way to talk, Apple has helped technical workers in Cupertino evaluate problems in the factory.
Chinese management was also given more power, but the final decisions were still made in Cupertino.
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