Apple greenlights replacing 50% of iPhone final assembly line with automation

A new report reveals Apple is moving forward with its plan to automate 50% of the final assembly line for the iPhone, in an effort to reduce headcount.

1 minute & 13 seconds read time

Apple has internally greenlit a plan to reduce the total number of workers on the assembly line of the iPhone by implementing automation.

Apple greenlights replacing 50% of iPhone final assembly line with automation 65161565

According to a new report from The Information, Apple has ordered managers to reduce the headcount of workers on the assembly line for the iPhone, particularly the final assembly lines. Apple reportedly told managers that it wants the final assembly line headcount reduced by as much as 50% over the next few years and that supply chain and automation projects Apple previously ruled out due to high up-front costs have now been greenlit.

This move by Apple has fallen in line with its overall downward trend in the total number of monitored employees at Apple's manufacturing partners, with figures falling from 1.6 million in 2022 to 1.4 million in 2024. Furthermore, the report states these orders have come from Sabih Khan, Apple's senior vice president of operations, along with Peter Thompson, an operations vice president at Apple. At the moment it remains unclear how many jobs will be lost to this automation.

Over the past year, Thompson's team has successfully automated parts of the iPhone's assembly, working closely with manufacturing partners such as Foxconn, Luxshare Precision, and Pegatron. Those successes include machines that install metal brackets and flexible printed circuit boards onto components without human aid, said multiple people with direct knowledge of the effort.

These and similar efforts have allowed Apple and its partners to eliminate positions for thousands of workers in China, according to people who work in Apple's supply chain. For some processes, they have reduced headcount by as much as 30%, according to one employee at an iPhone manufacturing partner.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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