The Cupertino-headquartered firm’s manufacturing partner, Taiwan-based Wistron, has already begun a trial run for the iPhone 12 project at its new facility near Bengaluru. The contract manufacturer, with a planned investment of over Rs 2,900 crore, has also initiated the hiring process for the same. It plans to employ some 10,000 workers at the new facility in a phased manner, while around 1,000 are already at work. The plant has already received over half of its planned investment and is expected to be fully operational by October. Expansion of Wistron’s production capacity is in line with Apple’s mid-term goals - adding newer models quickly into its ‘Made in India’ portfolio. The American multinational had recently confirmed that its next-generation iPhone 12 would be delayed beyond September in global retail stores. The iPhone 12 (5G) range is expected to start at Rs 70,000.
Sources said while the new facility in Narasapura (Karnataka) could be dedicated for the upcoming iPhone 12, its existing plant in Bengaluru will be used to produce iPhone SE (2020). The second generation SE handsets, launched in April, is currently the cheapest iPhone available in the market with a starting price of Rs 42,500. Analysts at IDC, a market intelligence firm, pointed out that iPhone SE (2020) became one of the top five sold models in the above-Rs 40,000 price range during the April-June quarter.
Till recently, iPhone production in India was limited to older models at a lower price tag.
However, both 6s and iPhone SE (1st Gen) have been discontinued as newer models became popular. The shift has left capacity at Wistron’s facilities unutilised.
Currently, its largest partner Foxconn assembles iPhone 7, XR and 11 at its Sri City facility near Hyderabad. In fact, the overwhelming response for iPhone 11 accelerated Apple’s plans for local production of iPhone 12. Prior to that, two to three-year-old models used to drive sales. According to Counterpoint, Apple became one of the fastest-growing brands in October-December 2019, driven by iPhone 11 and XR.