Apple gadgets you buy in the future may have been assembled by machines as Apple’s biggest manufacturing partner, Foxconn, begins replacing its workers with robots. The move is expected to improve efficiency in Foxconn’s Chinese plants, as well as combat rising labor costs.
If you own a Mac or an iOS device, there’s a good chance it was assembled by the fine folks at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. Despite being born there, however, Apple’s latest gadgets aren’t exactly easy to get hold of in the city. But that’s set to change on Saturday, November 3, when the Cupertino company opens the doors to its first Shenzhen retail store.
The iPhone 5 has quickly become Apple’s fastest-selling iPhone of all-time, meaning it’s incredibly difficult to get hold of — even more than three weeks after its launch. And the situation is about to get a lot worse, according to Bloomberg.Apple has had to increase quality-control at Foxconn to prevent damaged devices with nicks and scratches from leaving the factory. As a result, iPhone 5 production rates have dropped.
Following reports of a riot between 4,000 employees earlier this month, Foxconn has acknowledged that two disputes between workers did take place at one of its Chinese plants. However, the company has denied claims of a strike over iPhone 5 production pressures, and says that production is on schedule.
After the death of Steve Jobs last year the city of Fremont wanted to celebrate Jobs’s work by registering his original Macintosh factory as a place of historical significance. Fremont’s city council quickly went to work on getting the Mac factory – which was a state-of-the-art automation facility at the time – registered, but found out that the building isn’t old enough to meet federal criteria for a historic designation.
According to federal criteria, a building must be at least 50 years old to be registered as a historic place of significance, and Apple’s Mac factory is only 30 years old. Fremont City Council spent $45,000 in the effort to get the factory listed before realizing they wouldn’t be able to do so.