Apple partner Foxconn is set to kick off mass production of iPhone X models in India this summer, according to a new report; and that could mean the iPhone XE is on its way.
Notably, the iPhone X will be the first OLED device produced by Apple locally in India. Apple’s supply chain already manufactures iPhones in the country, but only older and lower-end models like the iPhone SE, 6s and 7.
Foxconn plans to kick off mass production of the iPhone X in July, following a trial production run of the device earlier this month. The devices will be made at Foxconn’s plant in Chennai, located in eastern India.
The iPhone X production is just one piece of Foxconn’s larger plans to move a portion of its assembly operations out of China, The Economic Times reported, citing a source within the company. The Apple assembler hopes to bump up its production capacity and “diversify” manufacturing to “even higher models” in the future.
News about Foxconn producing iPhones in India first surfaced last year. Foxconn reportedly invested $356 million to expand existing production capabilities in the country — and created about 25,000 jobs in the process.
Apple has historically struggled to gain a foothold in India, due to the aforementioned import duties and the Indian government’s general hesitance to give Apple any incentives.
India-based manufacturing serves a few purposes for both Apple and its supply chain partners.
- For one, it allows Apple to skirt the stiff import duties and tariffs that Indian officials place on smartphones and smartphone components produced outside of its borders.
- Locally producing iPhone Xs could also play into Apple’s broader India strategy. For example, bumping up iPhone production in general could finally allow Apple to open its retail stores in the country — since India requires firms to source at least 30 percent of products locally before opening brick-and-mortar locations.
- It also allows firms like Foxconn (and Apple itself) to diversify its production to countries other than China. In the midst of rising trade and technology tensions between the U.S. and China, India-based production provides Apple’s ecosystem with a bit more security.
Presumably, with the infrastructure in place to produce iPhone X models equipped with edge-to-edge OLED displays and Face ID modules, it may be easier for Apple to begin manufacturing iPhone XE models in India.
That’s important because rumors of an iPhone XE have long been tied to the Indian market. It’s also worth noting that the most recent iPhone XE rumors, from India-based blog PC-Tablet, allegedly cited a source within Foxconn’s manufacturing ecosystem in India. With Foxconn’s production slated to kick off soon, it could lend a bit more credibility to that rumor.
Still, this is all speculation at this point. But as time goes on, an iPhone XE — or at least a refresh of the iPhone SE — seems more likely.