Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Apple gives engineers in China more responsibility over manufacturing processes

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Apple is giving engineers in China more responsibility in managing its hardware manufacturing processes, saying: a new report from The Wall Street Journal† Before the pandemic, Apple often sent US-based engineers to the country to oversee development, but the report says the company is now relying more on China-based engineers given increased border restrictions due to COVID-19.

However, Apple’s US-based engineers are still remotely involved in development efforts abroad, according to: The Wall Street Journalthe report:

The iPhone maker has also used some technology, including live streaming, which allows staff at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., to remotely monitor what’s happening on China’s factory floors, the people said. Apple has used iPads to communicate and augmented reality tools to help tech experts in Cupertino monitor factory issues, one of the people said.

And “key decisions” and product design still primarily take place at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. The Wall Street Journal reports.

Apple is known for its mastery of the supply chain, and many of the factories it relies on for manufacturing are located in China. But the global chip shortage and COVID-19-related disruptions, including lockdowns in China, have thrown some major wrenches into the company’s operations — so much so that CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s Q2 earnings call that it expects revenue “in the $4 billion to $8 billion range” in the current quarter.

Rumors suggest that the company is working on many new products this year, including the iPhone 14 series, a redesigned MacBook Air (though reports differ on whether it will have an M1 or M2 processor), and the second-generation AirPods Pro. It’s unclear whether development of these products has slowed down despite Apple’s tweaks. And if the disruptions continue, there’s always a chance Apple will release some of them later than expected.

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