For the first time, Apple building current-gen iPhone flagship in India

Foxconn moving additional iPhone production to India as coronavirus disrupts work
Foxconn moving additional iPhone production to India as coronavirus disrupts work
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

For the first time ever, Apple is manufacturing its current flagship iPhone in India, a Friday report from the Economic Times claims. The report says that Foxconn is building the iPhone 11 at its plant near Chennai.

While many previous iPhones made in India have been manufactured for the local market, the report says that Apple may export these devices internationally. Building some of its flagship iPhones in India would help lessen Apple’s reliance on China.

Apple started producing iPhones in India in 2017. It began with the iPhone SE, then expanded to the iPhone 6s, and beyond. However, while the iPhone 6s is a former flagship device, Apple only began to manufacture it in India when it was not the company’s present generation model.

Currently the overwhelming majority of iPhones are built in China. Apple has, for some time, been looking to expand beyond China as a manufacturing base. It has asked its supply chain partners to active explore other international opportunities.

A recent report said that Apple is looking to double-down on its focus in India. It claims that up to one-fifth of manufacturing could be moved to the country. Many of those handsets would then be exported. If today’s report is accurate — combined with another recent news piece about Apple supplier Pegatron joining the companies building factories in India — this suggests Apple’s plan is moving forward in a big way.

Apple’s next-gen iPhone 12 handsets are all being manufactured in China. That could change in the future, of course. But it shows that Apple is still relying on China for building Apple’s new flagship devices ahead of launch. Maybe if this iPhone 11 manufacturing goes well Apple would be tempted to reconsider.