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So this is “made”, not made... assembled somewhere that is not China (so India), but there’s no mention of where all the components they’re assembling are being produced at.

The most recent estimate [1] I could quickly find valued the iPhone X at $600 in components alone (excluding assembly), so any trade war would seem to still be incredibly perilous for Apple, especially on their lower-end products.

I haven’t been following any of this, so perhaps they covered it in another story, but for Bloomberg I really expected a bit more of an in-depth analysis.

1: http://fortune.com/2017/09/18/apple-iphone-x-margins/

Components are not made in China, at least mostly. Chips are from tsmc for example. Mainland China is responsible for the final assembly.

CTRL+F through Apple's supplier list:


China (381) India (9) US (65) Japan (135) Korea (41)

Outsourcing to India will follow the same trend as other Chinese OEMs doing final assembly in India to circumvent 20% import tariff on phones. Most of the materials are still going to be procured from Chinese supply chains.

You need to understand the political difficulty with calling your supplier Taiwanese before reading any list like this.

Pretty sure this list would count tsmc as a Chinese company.

You should at least read the list before making assumptions. The official suppliers list clearly differentiates between PRC (381) and Taiwan (67). From cursory reading, China supplies more materials and components than all other country combined. Some of it is lower tech and can be replaced, but not all of it and certainly not in the short term.

Edit: To add, China's strength is both logistics and the ability to setup new production processes. Mature processes for old phones can be moved to India for production, but major hardware changes in new sku is still only viable in China because only China has the expertise, logistics, capacity to rapidly iterate and trouble shoot new products.

According to the link another commentor replied to my comment with, which includes the actual per-component cost breakdown, the most expensive part is the Samsung display. Where is that manufactured? Well, in 2017 Samsung was planning the world’s largest plant in... you guessed it... China.

Even if some details or price estimates are wrong, the fact that they are dependent upon a third party for the most expensive component with no obvious alternative is a problem.

Even if Samsung plans to put a plant in China, they still have production capacity in Korea. In fact, most of the components that’s come out of China are fungible like that.

Apple tends to have multiple display providers, even for the same phone model (Sharp, LG, Samsung). They are on top of that problem, mostly.

>Apple tends to have multiple display providers

That is only for LCD. Not for OLED, they are only from Samsung.

Until LG's production comes online, that is correct.

Somewhat OT: How do you guarantee for quality/consistency when you have multiple suppliers for a part as sensitive as this?

You provide a very specific definition of "quality" (contrast, brightness, power consumption, color levels, etc, etc) and tell your suppliers to meet it.

Here’s a widely circulated article from 2017 that found the iPhone X components to cost only $370: https://amp.businessinsider.com/iphone-x-teardown-parts-cost...

Component cost guesstimates are not a precise science as more and more components are not sold on open market.

For example, I was astonished when a $1000 IHS report called iPhone 4 battery at ~$10 when the retail price of a replacement is less than that.

iPhone 3 was certainly around just $30 to $40 dollars in cost, but after that, the "arms race" began.

At around iPhone 4 era, all big makers began putting more and more custom and direct sourced components, and estimating costs got much harder.

This works in both directions. Sometimes you can source a part more cheaply than the estimate, in part because the sourced part is lower quality than what Apple uses. Sometimes you can't source a part as cheaply as the estimate, because the estimate is assuming Apple can get the parts at a scale we can't touch.

Basically, these estimates seem like wild guesses.

That’s still a significant percentage to now be dependent upon a country that could end up with huge tariffs. I enjoyed their actual breakdown of price by component, but I wasn’t so much concerned with the actual number... just that being “made” elsewhere was all the mattered.

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