How iPhone Is Made: A Surprising Report On How Much Of Apple's Top Product Is US-Manufactured
Editor's note: This piece was originally published on August 7, 2013 and has been repurposed with an updated infographic below.
By: Alex Hillsberg
Are the last chapters of the iPhone saga unfolding? Not by any stretch of imagination, if you ask the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) faithful. Definitely starting, if you ask the Android challengers.
The world and word war between Android and Apple just keeps escalating to ever greater heights, and has been the most engrossing story in business for quite a number of quarters now. Let’s not even talk courtroom battles and intellectual property clashes here. Very few technologies are completely new. Most owe a debt of gratitude to forebears who laid the foundation for all the awesomeness we carry around in our bags and pockets. Let’s just talk about sales.
Clearly, Apple has never been as popular as it was in the 2nd quarter of 2013. In the Q3 earnings call, Apple reported that 31.2 million iPhones were sold in that quarter. This was a quarterly record for Apple. Contrast this with 26 million iPhones sold last year. The company’s flagship product still has firm believers worldwide. That’s not the whole story, however, because incredible as it may seem iPhone 5 sales figures in the last three quarters were lower than what Wall Street expected causing massive fluctuations in the value of Apple’s shares in the stock market.
From the left flank, it looks like the Android charge led by Samsung is gaining ground. In 2012, Apple lost its firm grip on the smartphone market and Android manufacturers were emboldened to match Apple’s products spec for spec and price point for price point. Apple still leads, but not by miles.
In the wake of rumors that Apple is set to abandon its one-size-fits-all design policy and release a budget iPhone and iPhones with larger screens, where does this leave its current standard bearer? Apple has also started “reshoring” production of some of its products (but not iPhones, yet) back to the US. Will this move eventually change the big picture that follows? In this infographic we trace the iPhone 5 supply and manufacturing chain. Did you know that 90 percent of all the rare-earth minerals used on an iPhone 5’s circuitry, screen, speakers, and glass cover are mined in China and Inner Mongolia?
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