Everything you need to know about the manufacture of the iPhone — 2022
If you have an iPhone in your hand, you probably do not know the whole process that it has had to go through to get to your home. Although it seems that the construction is simple, the truth is that it is quite complicated and must be started with enough time to spare. The question that everyone can ask is… who makes the iPhone? What is your place of birth? In this article we try to answer all these questions.
Foxconn, responsible for all iPhones
The iPhone you are now using is primarily assembled by Foxconn, a company based in Zhengzhou, China. The location of this plant is considered to be like a small city as it has a large area. Specifically, it has 5.6 square kilometers and employs more than 350,000 employees. Above all, the workforce is reinforced in the summer months, which is when production has to be much higher when the new generation iPhones are launched on the market in September.
This is why the birthplace of the iPhone is ultimately China. This is logical, since labor in this country is really cheap, earning only about 2 dollars per hour. This is obviously inconceivable in other countries, for example in Spain or the United States, but Apple looks a lot for its business economy like any other multinational.
Inside the factory there are almost 100 production lines whose main function is to carry out the last step of the assembly and testing of mobile devices. In the production lines, many processes are carried out, specifically more than 400 steps. The problem that the employees of the production line can find is that they have to carry out highly repetitive tasks in the 12 hours of work they do daily in the plant. Each of the people is specialized in a specific point of production such as polishing the screen, placing a single screw or assembling a specific component to the motherboard. As a result of this work, Foxconn is capable of producing more than 300 iPhones per minute in the plants, which translates to almost half a million units in a single day at maximum production.
As we say, this complex has revitalized the local economy, turning Zhengzhou into the city of the iPhone. This is because all employees live in buildings near the factory. As a consequence of this growth, many entrepreneurs have opted to open businesses in this Chinese city where the vast majority of iPhones are born. The problem is that when you receive a package at home, it may not appear as if it was sent from China but from one of the many warehouses that Apple has in different continents. These act as distribution hubs for the different countries and to all customers. But despite this, do not think that your iPhone has been made in Holland or Milan, but that it has been assembled in China by Foxconn.
Although Foxconn is always given the pleasure of being the official manufacturer of the iPhone, the truth is that its manufacture has many more extra steps. Foxconn only deals with the assembly and final testing of the equipment, bringing together all the components that are manufactured by the rest of the brands. That is why in the end it is a group of manufacturers that are external to Apple that end up building the final iPhone.
There are many companies that participate in this process and the vast majority are known by all to have a significant impact in the world of technology. Samsung, for example, is in charge of providing the OLED panels necessary for the latest iPhone models that include this screen. Although it can be believed that the relationship between these two companies is bad, behind the scenes they close agreements of this type to supply themselves with components. TSMC is also a factory that has a relevant importance in the manufacture of iPhones since it is responsible for the A-series processors that Apple designs but does not build in its own factories.
The suppliers vary each year, although it is currently known that Apple has more than 400 suppliers. The fact of having so many participants in the manufacture of iPhones is a problem in the end. If one fails to send a component, it can end up causing a delay in the manufacture of the equipment that will affect delivery times. That is why in history we have seen significant delays such as the iPhone X since it does not depend on a single manufacturer. To be as transparent as possible, Apple has a document on its website showing all current providers. Below we are going to break down the most important ones, although as we say in the official Apple list you can find many other names from different reputable companies.Access list of Apple suppliers
Samsung and LG
Although we are talking about two companies that have always seen each other as a rival to Apple, the truth is that they are allies. To carry out business they are united with the aim of providing different components, the main one being OLED screens. These were integrated from the iPhone X onwards and you get to have business with this part of Samsung and it is undoubtedly one of the most important components for the manufacture of any mobile device. Along with these two companies, it should be noted that Japan Display is in charge of the field of LCD screens.
For years this company has been in charge of manufacturing the graphics card for the iPhone and also for the iPad. This is a really important part since, in the end, it is responsible for being able to display the image and interact with the different parts of the operating system. This is also undoubtedly considered a fundamental part of any iPhone or iPad.
This company is in charge of being able to manufacture sound cards and sound chips that are in charge of managing all the noise that a mobile device can emit. By this we mean music as well as notifications in any of its areas. In the end, it is in charge of managing all the speakers of any speaker.
This supplier has one of the most important tasks without a doubt, which is to create the battery management chips that go into all iPhones. It allows the battery not to run out instantly and manage all the resources that exist. In the end it is one of the brains to know how much energy each of the components takes.
Apple demands in production
Despite the fact that it is external companies that provide components to the Cupertino company so that Foxconn can assemble its iPhone, the demands that Apple has on these are quite intense. On the website that they assign to the responsibility of suppliers, they make it clear that their mission is to have the highest standards at all points in the production chain. This is achieved by making different evaluations of the suppliers to work with them so that all the standards imposed by Apple are guaranteed. Specifically, more than 1,000 evaluations are carried out on all suppliers in almost 50 different countries.
There are many controversies that have been generated about the possible exploitation that employees who manufacture iPhones may suffer. Apple has wanted to tackle all of these with different codes of conduct that must be met by suppliers. In addition, it is also about reducing the carbon footprint of each of the mobile devices with the installation of solar panels in the production chains or with the reduction of the use of conflicting minerals.