Apple is set to start producing all its iPhone batteries on automated production lines starting later this year, according to a report from DigiTimes.
The decision is reportedly related to minimum wages rising in China — combined with labor shortages and high turnovers of staff, who have to be trained to use the manufacturing machinery.
Apple has already automated its Mac Pro and iMac production lines, with only the materials and final assembling phases of manufacturing requiring manpower. Automating the production of iPhone batteries would represent a significant long-term cost saving advance for the manufacturing process.
Automated production lines would also allow Apple to move manufacturing wherever it likes — although it is likely that it would stay in China, since this is where most of the company’s component supply partners are based.
The news regarding the automated battery production lines comes on the back of reports that both Pegatron and Foxconn are gearing up to begin production on the next generation iPhone.
Competition between the two companies to win contracts from Apple has heated up over the past year — with Taiwan’s Pegatron Corp undercutting Foxconn to be awarded an increased amount of manufacturing work from Apple.