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Significant iPad engineering resources at Apple could be relocated to Vietnam

Apple may be looking to set up a new production hub for some of its iPad models in Vietnam. According to a recent report by Nikkei Asia, the Cupertino-based tech giant is collaborating with China’s BYD, a conglomerate manufacturing company and major iPad assembler, to establish new product introduction (NPI) resources in Vietnam. That isn’t the first time Apple has taken steps to relocate iPad assembly capacity to Vietnam. In 2022, the company worked with the same Chinese conglomerate to shift it to Vietnamese factories to mitigate the effect of supply disruptions caused by strict lockdown restrictions in Chinese iPad production plants.

However, now is the first time Apple is shifting NPI resources of a core device like the iPad in Vietnam. NPI refers to Apple’s practice of working with suppliers on the design and development of new products, ensuring that all blueprints are executed per the required standard in a new manufacturing facility. Expectedly, this approach demands significant resources from both parties.

Up to this point, most of the company’s NPI for the iPad was carried out in China, with experts working hand in hand with Cupertino engineers to embellish the products’ new features and functionalities. By diversifying its supply chain, the company is supposedly trying to reduce its reliance on China as a significant production hub.

Nikkei Asia also highlights that engineering verification for test production of the new iPad model might be happening in February next year. Then again, the new tablet most likely won’t become available until the second half of 2024.

Apple is eyeing other countries besides Vietnam as an alternative production hub for some of its products. For instance, the Cupertino-based tech giant has relocated some NPI resources for an iPhone model in India. Plus, let’s not forget it intends to increase India-made iPhones substantially in the next two years.

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