Apple Looking to Expand iPad and AirPods Charging Case Manufacturing to India

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Apple is investigating expanding its iPad and AirPod charging cases production to India, according to Indian publication Benzinga. Apple is considering the move following its increase of iPhone production in the country.

Apple has long been looking for ways to reduce its dependence on China as its main manufacturing source, turning to India as an alternate manufacturing source.

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The report says Apple is looking to build the iPad in India partially due to the Indian government’s initiatives to attract additional manufacturing to the company. Apple is also reportedly looking for an Indian manufacturing partner to manufacture wireless charging cases for AirPods.

Apple moved key iPad engineering sources to Vietnam last year, working with Chinese manufacturing partner BYD. Apple originally wanted to move iPad manufacturing to India, but government restrictions put the kibosh on that idea. Now, Apple is looking for a new local iPad manufacturing partner.

Apple is also looking for an AirPods charging case manufacturer in India. The Cupertino firm has long worked with Jabil on multiple manufacturing products, including the iPhone 7 Plus. The report says Apple plans to use Jabil’s Indian division to produce the AirPod charging cases in India starting in 2025.

The companies are reportedly testing production quality in Jabil’s facilities in Western India’s Pune region. Apple is also reported to be considering using Foxconn for the charging case production.

Following quality testing and approval, Jabil plans to scale up commercial production of these parts for AirPods’ wireless charging cases.

The report also claims Apple may be considering moving Mac desktop and MacBook Pro laptop manufacturing to India, as the government is urging Apple to move some of the Mac production to the country.

The Indian government’s urging companies to bring laptop manufacturing to the country follows a brief period where India attempted to boost local laptop production by restricting laptop imports. The rules were implemented in August 2023, only to have them revoked two months later.

Apple is also currently ramping up production of its flagship iPhone models in India by partnering with Foxconn and Tata Electronics. The California iPhone maker is looking to manufacture as much as 25% of all iPhones using facilities in India within the next three to four years. The moves are expected to boost the Indian manufacturing ecosystem, contributing to the local economy by creating jobs. These moves by Apple could position the country as a major piece of its global supply chain strategy.

All is not rosy for Apple in India, however. As we recently reported, Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is facing an investigation into its hiring practices, as it allegedly does not hire married women. Foxconn is said to have told its third-party recruiters to reject married women before they even fill out an employment application. The government has questioned Foxconn executives and is examining documentation from the country.

Foxconn executives are said to believe that married women miss more work days than single females due to their family responsibilities and the possibility of pregnancies. The manufacturer is said to relax its rules against hiring married women during labor shortages, such as before a new iPhone launch.

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