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Apple has been seeking to add geographic diversity to its supply chain for some time, with a shift of some production of the AirPods lineup to Vietnam being one significant step for the company.

AirPods-Gen-3-Feature.jpg

Apple reportedly began trialing production of regular ‌AirPods‌ in Vietnam over a year ago, and it was reported in December that Apple's ‌AirPods‌ suppliers were looking to line up financing to expand production.

Originally, those plans also included the upcoming AirPods 3, but those plans have changed. According to a new report from Nikkei Asia, Apple has had to begin mass producing the third-generation AirPods in China rather than Vietnam because of disruptions related to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Apple will start mass-producing its latest AirPods earphones in China instead of in Vietnam as previously planned, two people familiar with the situation said. The company still hopes to move around 20% of new AirPods production to Vietnam later, they said.
Apple's plan to bring some MacBook and iPad production to Vietnam has also been put on hold due to stricter border control measures in China and Vietnam, which has resulted in a lack of engineering resources and an incomplete supply chain, according to the report.

One of the problems is said to be the need for so-called "new product introductions," where companies and suppliers work together to develop and produce a completely new product. This has been especially difficult in Vietnam due to the lack of engineers able to work on AirPods 3 and other new devices.

Following the height of U.S.-China trade tensions two years ago, Apple, Google, and Amazon all initiated moves to shift some production to Vietnam. Google had intended to produce the Pixel 5 range there early last year, but the smartphones ended up being made in China.

Meanwhile, Amazon is facing delays in the production of smart doorbells, security cameras, and smart speakers, as assembly lines in the northern part of the country coped with a surge in local COVID cases and tougher infection prevention measures.

According to an IDC analyst quoted in the report, any setback for Vietnam is likely to be temporary, as the country has already established itself as a key alternative manufacturing location outside of China.

Apple's forthcoming third-generation AirPods are expected to adopt a form factor similar to the AirPods Pro, featuring a new case, a shorter stem, and perhaps replaceable ear tips.

The new AirPods were initially rumored to be launching in the first half of 2021, but in March, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and DigiTimes said that they're not expected until later in the year, with mass production to begin in the third quarter, which means the new version will likely launch in September alongside new iPhones.

Article Link: Apple Producing AirPods 3 in China Instead of Vietnam Due to Pandemic Disruption
 

senttoschool

macrumors 6502a
Nov 2, 2017
869
1,546
Have lived in Vietnam recently.

If companies think they can simply move away from China, they're in for a surprise. By this point, it's not just the cheap labor that China can provide. It's also the infrastructure, supply chains, and manufacturing talent that only China can provide as a full package.

In addition, even if the actual manufacturing takes place in Vietnam, many companies are still just contracting with Chinese companies who then go to Vietnam to put the products together. China also provides much of the raw materials for Vietnam. Vietnam is quickly just becoming China's China.
 
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orbital~debris

macrumors 65816
Mar 3, 2004
1,369
2,437
UK, Europe
Really hoping they manage to fix the battery degradation issues with this version. My last pair only lasted four years until they didn’t hold a charge.

I kind of think that's to be expected, given our current battery technology (and the size of the batteries inside AirPods).

Four years seems a pretty good lifespan. The important thing is that when this happens, the product goes back to Apple for effective recycling.
 

h3ysw5nkan

macrumors 68000
Aug 17, 2016
1,737
1,635
Have lived in Vietnam recently.

If companies think they can simply move away from China, they're in for a surprise. By this point, it's not just the cheap labor that China can provide. It's also the infrastructure, supply chains, and manufacturing talent that only China can provide as a full package.

In addition, even if the actual manufacturing takes place in Vietnam, many companies are still just contracting with Chinese companies who then go to Vietnam to put the products together. China also provides much of the raw materials for Vietnam. Vietnam is quickly just becoming China's China.
It‘s where the Chinese go to put in the last screws. They are not stupid, they learned from us, and our auto manufacturers contracting to Mexico, then putting in the last tiny piece of a car in Texas. Apple doesn’t fall far from the trees.
 
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Manzanito

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2010
801
1,241
Agreed. But I’m bored seeing Made In China and would love seeing a Made In Vietnam label on Apple devices.
I don’t see how reading “made in Vietnam” would defeat boredom.

As long as the products are made in a responsible way and workers get decent working conditions, I could care less where they’re made.
 
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DanTSX

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2013
1,030
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I don’t see how reading “made in Vietnam” would defeat boredom.

As long as the products are made in a responsible way and workers get decent working conditions, I could care less where they’re made.

It does feel good and empowering to take sales away from China regardless of how small and trite each marginal economic gesture may be.... Of course, as noted, the entire supply chain is now in China. So they have us by the balls. But we can choose to abstain from China when possible.

It would be nice to see the AP or APP be made in the USA. Given the price they charge, I would think it may be feasible now that China is not so cheap any longer, and logistics costs are significantly higher than previously.
 

macintoshmac

macrumors 603
May 13, 2010
5,301
5,919
Bored? what kind of lame argument is that....... Where apple makes its products is now part of your daily entertainment now?

And what I feel about the label is your concern now? Yes I am bored of seeing the same Made In China label, what’s it to you to be so unsettled about it? And what makes you think I was furnishing any argument towards anything? Cool off.
 
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macintoshmac

macrumors 603
May 13, 2010
5,301
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haha.... would have liked to stir the Apple pot, and see what comes out

It looks like I have stirred a hornet’s nest here with that comment. People are trying to analyse that statement like they are meaningful/ material shareholders of this company and are befuddled when my personal thoughts make no sense to them, as if they ought to have.
 
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Jun 7, 2021
194
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I mean I already wasn’t gonna be buying any of this years new products due to the privacy issues that apple got into but this just makes it too easy.

Enjoy your new products fellas, I’m not interested in capitalism over moral integrity
 
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Mr. Dee

macrumors 68040
Dec 4, 2003
3,301
5,346
Jamaica
Do I need AirPods if I have a Beats Solo? I found one in the garbage and it’s working just fine.
 

macintoshmac

macrumors 603
May 13, 2010
5,301
5,919
I don’t see how reading “made in Vietnam” would defeat boredom.

As long as the products are made in a responsible way and workers get decent working conditions, I could care less where they’re made.

Just made a statement. Didn’t intend for the change to defeat anything.
 
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macintoshmac

macrumors 603
May 13, 2010
5,301
5,919
It does feel good and empowering to take sales away from China regardless of how small and trite each marginal economic gesture may be.... Of course, as noted, the entire supply chain is now in China. So they have us by the balls. But we can choose to abstain from China when possible.

It would be nice to see the AP or APP be made in the USA. Given the price they charge, I would think it may be feasible now that China is not so cheap any longer, and logistics costs are significantly higher than previously.

Thank you for adding this to the conversation.
 
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