After shifting a significant chunk of the iPhone 14 series to India from China, Apple now wants to go a considerable portion of the production of its premium earbuds. Apple has decided that it wants its factories in India to start making a significant chunk of the AirPods and Beats branded audio devices in India. It has asked its suppliers to refocus on where they ship their components.
The move is part of Apple’s gradual diversification from China, as it looks to lower the risk of supply chain disruptions stemming from the country’s strict zero-COVID policy and tensions with the U.S.
Apple has been talking with a number of its suppliers about increasing production in India, including crucial acoustics devices. The Cupertino-based tech giant wants to get the output of AirPods and Beats devices up and running on full steam in India by as early as next year.
A significant chunk of AirPods and Beats acoustic devices are made by Foxconn and the Luxshare Precision Industry. While Foxconn is already in a position to start manufacturing Apple’s audio devices as soon as they begin receiving components regularly, Luxshare and its affiliates, which already produce AirPods in Vietnam and China, will soon be setting up plants or partnering up with local manufacturers.
By bringing AirPods and Beats production to India, Apple will increase its production footprint. Apple started making some of the older versions of the iPhone in India back in 2017 when Wistron, one of Apple’s manufacturing partners, set up a plant in India. Apple’s production in India started taking off seriously after Foxconn set up its factory in Tamil Nadu. Initially, they only made non-flagship and some older iPhones for the Indian market.
As of now, it is not clear which AirPods will be manufactured in India. In all likelihood, the Indian facilities start with the most affordable version of the AirPods, i.e., the AirPods 2nd Gen, which has been around for a while.
The AirPods Gen 3, which comes at a higher price and misses out on basics such as ANC and transparency modes, can also be made. The top-tier AirPods Pro 2 that gets all the goodies from Apple and Apple’s advanced H2 chip may not be made in Apple’s Indian factories initially. Still, once they have the production process sorted out and all the kinks worked out, we may also see the AirPods Pro 2 being made in India.