Apple May Soon Mass-Produce iPads Outside China to Cut Costs

Higher labor costs in China could motivate Apple's shift to regions with more 'sales potential.'
Brad Bergan

Apple may begin manufacturing iPads in Vietnam later this year, which would see the company producing a "significant number" of tablets outside of China for the first time, according to an initial report from Nikkei.

This potential shift could also come as Apple reportedly increases the number of iPhones manufactured in India — where the company has manufactured a number of iPhone 11 devices since last year, and may start iPhone 12 series production sometime this quarter.

Apple might mass-produce iPads outside China

This latest report suggests Apple is more interested in diversifying its manufacturing beyond the borders of China, despite signs of easing trade tensions under the new U.S. President.

Nikkei noted how the new U.S. administration has already said it would not immediately lift tariffs on Chinese imports — while also emphasizing how Apple may look elsewhere in the world to manufacture its products amid rising labor costs in China.

iPhone manufacturer moving forward with shift out of China

Apple is also reportedly increasing the manufacturing of several other devices outside of China, according to Nikkei. After reports in 2020 that Apple transferred some Airpods Pro manufacturing to Vietnam, Nikkei also added the company aims to expand HomePod mini production in the South-East Asian nation — in addition to some MacBook production.

Additionally, some Mac mini production has already made a move to Malaysia.

Apple's changing supply chains comes nearly two years after reports surfaced of Apple's plans to move between 15% and 30% of its manufacturing out of China — and this latest report appears to confirm the next phase of this shift.

Shifting production to save costs amid global production

Apple has shifted production to India before. In September of 2018, the company began manufacturing its iPhone 6s in the subcontinental nation to save costs. At the time, company executives wanted to boost "sales potential" — in other words, building phones in a place where employing people costs less.

However, Apple appears to express concern for wider issues affecting the public, as recent announcements from the company suggest it has wider issues in mind for global production.

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Apple aims to go 100 percent carbon-neutral by 2030

In September of 2020, Apple announced it aims to make all of its products 100% carbon-neutral by 2030. This includes not just the manufacturing supply chain, but also the company's business and product lifecycle.

"Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share," said CEO Apple Tim Cook.

Apple wants to care about the well-being of humans

"The innovations powering our environmental journey are not only good for the planet — they've helped us make our products more energy-efficient and bring new sources of clean energy online around the world. Climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth. With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change.”

While some may turn a critical eye to an international super-corporation that repeatedly shies away from paying its labor force a higher wage — Apple's apparent commitment to sustainable manufacturing practices paints a picture of a firm that's interested in at least seeming to care about the well-being of humans.