India’s Tata Group is reportedly in discussions with Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Pegatron to establish a joint venture, with the intention of co-managing the Apple iPhone assembly plant currently under construction in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The partnership is anticipated to hasten the growth of iPhone production capacity in India.
According to Reuters citing industry sources, Tata, having acquired an iPhone assembly plant in the southern state of Karnataka from the Taiwanese company Wistron in 2023, has officially become part of the iPhone supply chain in India.
On the other hand, the new facility in the city of Hosur, Tamil Nadu, will be Tata’s second iPhone assembly plant in India, featuring 20 production lines, as disclosed by sources cited by Reuters.
Amid rumors that Tata Group in India is deeply engaged in discussions with Pegatron to form a strategic alliance and establish a joint venture, Pegatron did not to respond to market speculations.
Currently, approximately 10% of Apple’s iPhone production capacity in India comes from Pegatron, with the vast majority of capacity originating from Foxconn’s iPhone assembly plant located in Karnataka.
Furthermore, Foxconn has the highest share in Apple’s current new iPhone assembly. Among the four iPhone 15 series models, only certain models like iPhone15 and iPhone15 plus are produced by Tata Group in India.
An industry source has reportedly stated, “Tata cannot build everything from scratch,” He indicated that after Tata establishes a joint venture with Taiwanese firm Pegatron, Pegatron will provide technical and engineering support.
In recent years, Pegatron has been consistently expanding its global footprint, with expansions ongoing in Taiwan, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, and other locations.
Regarding its operations in India, Pegatron announced in late October 2023 that it had invested approximately NTD 300 million (roughly USD 9.56 million) to secure leasing rights for factory premises in Tamil Nadu.
In January of this year, the Indian subsidiary announced signing a construction general contracting project to commence electromechanical engineering construction for a new plant, totaling approximately NTD 510 million (roughly USD 16.26 million). According to industry sources, Pegatron’s Indian facilities primarily focus on smartphone production at present.
(Photo credit: Apple)
Please note that this article cites information from Reuters.
“Foldable Phones” have emerged as the new epitome of high-end flagship smartphones. However, whether it’s in the form of vertical or horizontal folding, it may no longer meet the needs of some users.
Recently, industry sources cited by TechNews has suggested that Chinese smartphone brand Huawei is planning to launch a triple-fold foldable phone this year. This move is expected to make smartphones unfolded more akin to the size and functionality of tablet computers.
As for the folding form, it might be in a Z-shaped (or S-shaped) manner. The screen size after folding would be similar to that of a regular smartphone, approximately 6.4 inches. It is rumored that Huawei’s Z-fold phone’s panel supplier could be BOE.
However, the design of the triple-fold phone may not be limited to just the Z-fold type; it could also be designed in a G-fold manner.
What is the G-fold type? It means both hinges fold inward. Nonetheless, such a design would necessitate adding a cover screen, which would increase the overall weight and thickness. Additionally, to cover the folded panel, the folding radius of the other side’s hinge must be enlarged.
As for the Z-fold (or S-fold) design, while it allows for the use of the outer folded panel as a cover screen, thus saving weight, the simultaneous presence of both inward and outward folding poses significant challenges to the panel’s layer stacking design and the mechanism’s design.
However, some people may wonder, “Are foldable phones really selling well?” In fact, according to TrendForce’s data, for the shipment numbers last year, the existing shipment volume of foldable phones still falls short of expectations, reaching only 15.7 million units, failing to surpass the 16 million mark.
The sales performance of the leading brand in foldable phones, Samsung Electronics, was also not as good as expected, remaining at around 10.5 million units. The sales situation of other Chinese brands also did not meet expectations.
While foldable phones have indeed become the new symbol of high-end flagship smartphones, the fact is that the design patterns have become quite fixed. For consumers who are always looking for something new, these phones have lost their novelty and breakthrough points.
Therefore, brands have begun to contemplate the future of foldable phones with new designs and are considering abandoning certain design patterns to achieve better profitability.
For instance, OPPO and vivo are expected to abandon upright foldable phone models within this year, opting to retain only the left-right folding models (Fold).
The main reason behind this decision is that the pricing of upright foldable phones is lower, and although there might be a chance of higher shipment volumes compared to the Fold models, the profit margins are not significant.
Now that the demand for foldable phones has started to plateau, it is anticipated that the demand for foldable phones this year will only reach 17.7 million units, a 12.3% year-on-year increase.
In the face of sluggish end-user demand, why are smartphone brands still considering launching new types of foldable phones? This relates to the notion of “technological showcase.” Huawei’s triple-fold phone design takes into account technological capabilities, yield rates, and other factors.
Initially, the scale may not be too large, but the technological demonstration aspect remains potent. Huawei is anticipated to position itself as a technological leader, exerting pressure on other smartphone brands to a certain extent.
However, brands are not only contemplating “folding” smartphone designs. Some brands have also begun considering rollable and pull-up designs, aiming to inject new vitality into the smartphone market.
Previously, TSMC has indicated that TSMC’s 2nm process will be deployed as scheduled in the second half of 2025, indicating that before that, the most advanced chips in the market will be produced using TSMC’s 3nm process. Apple, which has consistently been the first to adopt TSMC’s latest process, is set to be the first to adopt TSMC’s latest 2nm process.
▲ TSMC’s Layout of Global Production Capacity Edited by TrendForce, November, 2023
According to a report from the media outlet wccftech, Apple’s iPhone, Mac, iPad, and other devices will be the first users of TSMC’s 2nm process. Apple will leverage TSMC’s 2nm process technology to enhance chip performance and reduce power consumption. This advancement is expected to result in longer battery life for future Apple products, such as the iPhone and MacBook.
Currently, Apple’s chips designed for products like MacBook, iPad, and iPad Pro are produced using TSMC’s 3nm process technology. In 2023, the company announced the inclusion of the M3 Pro and M3 Max chips in the new MacBook Pro models.
Additionally, TSMC will utilize new technology based on the GAAFET (Gate-All-Around Field-Effect Transistor) transistors instead of the traditional FinFET. While this new architecture makes the manufacturing process more complex, it also brings advantages such as smaller transistor sizes and lower power consumption.
In terms of performance analysis, Apple’s current chips are transitioning from the 5nm process to the 3nm process. This transition has resulted in a 10% increase in CPU performance and a 20% increase in GPU performance.
For now, TSMC is actively planning the capacity for future 2nm process technology through the construction of two new factories. Additionally, TSMC will utilize new technology based on the GAAFET (Gate-All-Around Field-Effect Transistor) architecture instead of the traditional FinFET architecture.
While this new architecture makes the manufacturing process more complex, it also brings advantages such as smaller transistor sizes and lower power consumption.
The report further indicates that Apple is expected to adopt the 2nm process for chip production in the iPhone 17 by 2025. Additionally, the same technology will also be applicable to the production of Mac’s M-series chips.
Furthermore, as TSMC is quietly developing 1.4nm process, it is expected to be unveiled in 2027. This development means that, like the 2nm process technology, Apple could potentially be the first company to receive the latest process technology from TSMC for chip production, whether it’s 1.4nm or 2nm.
According to recent reports, Huawei is expected to unveil its flagship P70 series later this year, alongside the introduction of the new Kirin 9010 chipset. However, there are indications that the older Kirin 9000S might be utilized in a specific model.
Wccftech suggests that the P70 series will include the P70, P70 Pro, and P70 Art, followed by the Mate 70 series. Notably, not all P70 models will feature the new Kirin 9010.
As per insights from the Weibo account Smart Pikachu, the P70 series will boast a custom curved display that is easy on the eyes and power-efficient but lacks a 2K resolution, and the standard version of the P70 is tested with the Kirin 9000S. This may potentially impact the motivation for users who have already purchased the Mate 60 and might not find sufficient reasons to upgrade to the P70.
Wccftech suggests that the adoption of the 9000S in some models could be attributed to the limited supply of the Kirin 9010. The Kirin 9000S, produced by SMIC using a 7nm process, faces production challenges due to the use of older-generation DUV equipment, resulting in a time-consuming and costly manufacturing process with lower yields.
Despite this, there is a glimmer of hope for Huawei’s pricing competitiveness, as the production cost of the Kirin 9000S is expected to be lower than that of the Kirin 9010. This cost advantage could potentially contribute to Huawei’s goal of reaching an estimated shipment volume of 100 million smartphones in 2024, especially considering the company’s historical strength in offering competitive pricing for its base models.
Apple, despite maintaining its position as the best-selling smartphone brand in China in 2023, is currently resorting to drastic measures to boost sales. An unusual promotional campaign featuring significant price reductions has surfaced on the official Chinese Apple website.
Customers using specific payment methods to purchase select Apple products can enjoy discounts of up to 800 Chinese yuan. This promotion includes the latest iPhone 15 series, Macs, AirPods, and Apple Watch.
According to an announcement on Apple China’s official website on the 15th of the month, Apple China is set to launch the “Welcome the Spring Festival Limited-Time Offer” from January 18th to January 21st. Customers who meet certain payment criteria will be eligible for varying discounts.
Taking the iPhone as an example, models like the iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, and iPhone 13 are all part of this promotion, with potential savings of up to 500 Chinese yuan.
For those interested in purchasing the 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook Air (M2), or the 13-inch MacBook Air (M1), the discounts can reach up to 800 Chinese yuan. Other products such as the iPad series, Apple Watch SE, AirPods, and Apple Pencil-related models are also covered under this special offer.
It’s worth noting that this move by Apple is quite unusual, as they rarely introduce such significant price reductions for new products in the same year. For instance, during last year’s Chinese New Year event, only the previous generation models, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, were included in the promotion.
This is seen as Apple’s effort to boost sales in response to increasing competition, particularly from Huawei, which made a comeback in 2023 with flagship smartphones dominating the high-end Chinese smartphone market.
As Huawei plans to expand its market share in the high-end flagship category this year, targeting the domestic demand in China, coupled with geopolitical factors, this could directly compete with Apple and potentially exert significant pressure on Apple’s production performance in the this year.
Recent reports from Jefferies analysts cited by Bloomberg highlight the impact of the Huawei Mate 60 Pro’s presence and the Chinese government’s ban on iPhones for officials. It is estimated that the sales volume of Apple’s latest products in China in 2024 could decline significantly by 30% compared to the previous year, potentially resulting in a double-digit decline in sales for the entire year.
Please note that this article cites information from Bloomberg