AirPods manufacturers sleep in factory ‘bubbles’ to avoid COVID-19

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Apple has big plans for the AirPods lineup.
It's all part of the effort to contain COVID.
Photo: Omid Armin/Unsplash CC

In order to quell the spread of COVID-19, at least one Apple supplier set up coronavirus “bubbles” for employees on its production lines, essentially sealing off workers from the outside world.

According to a Tuesday report by Nikkei Asia, several factories in Vietnam — including one owned by AirPods manufacturer GoerTek — took this precautionary measure as COVID-19 cases ramp up in the country.

COVID-19 forces temporary closures for Apple factories in Vietnam

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Don’t let your opinion of Vietnam be stuck decades in the past.
Apple produces a growing number of products in Vietnam.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Marcus Nguyen/Pexels CC

The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on Apple’s supply chain (as well as everywhere else), with two Apple suppliers ordered to temporarily shutter factories in Vietnam as a result of a surge of COVID cases in the region.

The companies in question, Foxconn and Luxshare Precision, operate plants in Vietnam’s northern region. The area has seen a big rise in cases, including two over the weekend at Luxshare’s plant in Van Trung Industrial Park.

Apple expanding iPhone, iPad, Mac manufacturing outside China

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Apple's relationship with Foxconn on the rocks
Tim Cook meeting a worker on the iPhone production line.
Photo: Apple

For years, China has been Apple’s biggest manufacturing hub for building its devices. But that’s now changing, with a report Wednesday claiming that Apple is “ramping up” production of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other products in other parts of the world.

This is an attempt by Apple to diversify manufacturing beyond China, following trade tensions between the U.S. and China in recent years.

Updated classic AirPods delay expected into new year, but with ‘Made in Vietnam’ tag

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Keep AirPods Pro noise cancellation switched on -- permanently.
Your next classic AirPods could be made in Vietnam.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The coronavirus and its aftermath appear to be taking a toll on manufacturing of updated AirPods, with a new report indicating an update to Apple’s popular earbuds will be delayed slightly and roll into the first quarter of 2021.

The Nikkei Asian Review also reported Friday sources as saying around 30% of all classic AirPods to be produced this quarter for Apple will be “made in Vietnam”. That the report said is “a sign the company is accelerating its diversification of production out of China amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

Apple adds third company to exclusive list of iPhone manufacturers

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iPhone XS Max
Foxconn doesn’t assemble every iPhone. And soon there’ll be another company putting together iOS handsets.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly will expand the number of companies that can assemble iPhones. Luxshare Precision could join a rather exclusive club, according to reliable analyst, supposedly to reduce the risk that problems with one manufacturer will cause a shortage of iPhone units.