Apple To Move Key iPad Engineering Resources To Vietnam – Report

Apple continues to strengthen its manufacturing and development capabilities outside of mainland China, according to recent media reports.

Nikkei Asia reported on Friday that Apple is to move key iPad engineering resources to Vietnam, bolstering that country’s chances of becoming an alternative manufacturing hub outside of China.

Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal also reported on Friday that Apple aims to make a quarter of the world’s iPhones in India, after Foxconn plans to build more factories in order to make 50 million iPhones per year in the country.

Vietnam move

According to the Nikkei Asia report, which cited unnamed sources briefed on the matter, Apple is allocating product development resources for the iPad to Vietnam.

Apple is reportedly working with China’s BYD, a key iPad assembler, to move new product introduction (NPI) resources to Vietnam.

According to Nikkei Asia, NPI involves a tech company such as Apple collaborating with suppliers on the design and development of new products to make sure the blueprints can be manufactured correctly.

This is reportedly the first time Apple has shifted NPI resources to Vietnam for such a core device.

Engineering verification for test production of an iPad model will start around mid-February next year, sources told Nikkei Asia. The model will be available in the second half of next year.

BYD was also the first supplier to help Apple shift iPad assembly for the first time to Vietnam in 2022, Nikkei reported earlier. And according to the report, this shift of NPI engineering resources is focused on entry-level models rather than the premium iPad Pro.

Nikkei Asia noted that NPI demands substantial resources both from the tech company and its suppliers, such as engineers and investment in lab equipment for testing new features and functions.

Currently most of Apple’s NPI is carried out in China, in collaboration with engineers in Cupertino, to take advantage of the country’s decades-long experience in hardware manufacturing.

Nikkei Asia reported earlier that Apple also plans to send some NPI processes for the iPhone to India.

This comes after the WSJ reported, citing people involved, that Apple is planning to make a quarter of the world’s iPhones in India within the next two to three years.

Geopolitical issues

Apple has been steadily expanding its manufacturing capabilities outside of China for a while now, amid geopolitical uncertainties that are forcing the company to rethink its China approach.

Vietnam is emerging as one of the two key tech manufacturing hubs for Apple outside of China.

Apple asked suppliers to build new capacity for nearly all of its products except the iPhone – from AirPods and MacBooks to Apple Watches and iPads – in Vietnam.

In August production of the Apple iPhone 15 began in India, at Foxconn’s Sriperumbudur plant.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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