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Apple Slashes Workforce by 50%: Automation Takes Over iPhone Assembly

Daniel Kim Views  

Apple is reducing the human workforce in iPhone assembly factories by up to 50%. This move is interpreted as a response to the production disruption caused by the 2022 Foxconn protest.

According to foreign media outlets, Apple proposed its supply chain and production automation initiatives, which were postponed due to high initial costs. They aim to cut half the number of iPhone assembly workers.

Apple’s decision was mainly impacted by the protests at the Foxconn factory in November 2022. The worker’s walkouts responded to COVID-19 preventive measures and wage issues. The Foxconn Zhengzhou factory is responsible for 70% of the iPhone shipments. Due to the Foxconn factory protests, Apple suffered a 30% loss for the iPhone 14 Pro lineup. Furthermore, it significantly impacted the performance of new iPhone models and had substantial sales damage.

Sabih Khan, Apple’s Senior Vice President, revealed directives to cut the human workforce in half for Apple’s supply chain.

According to Apple’s annual supply chain report, the total number of employees Apple monitors decreased from 1.6 million in 2022 to 1.4 million in 2023. The Apple production automation project was used in the assembly process of the iPhone 15, which was launched in September last year.

Apple’s acquisitions of Drishti and DarwinAI are also part of its efforts for production automation. Drishti identifies bottlenecks and production issues in real-time, and DarwinAI uses AI technology to inspect parts visually during manufacturing. Apple planned to fully automate the assembly process for the iPhone 16, which is set to launch this year. However, the plan failed due to a high defect rate.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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