Foxconn has announced that it will be deploying robots to aid in manufacturing, and Apple will be the first account to get a crack at using them.
Speaking at a shareholder’s meeting, Hon Hai Group CEO Terry Gou discussed the company’s plan to deploy up to 10,000 robots throughout its factories. The robots – dubbed “Foxbots” – are currently in their final testing stages before they are deployed to the factory floors. Gou noted that each robot will cost the company between $20,000 to $25,000, and said that each one will be capable of assembling 30,000 handsets, but did not note over what time span it would take to achieve that number.
While the robots will apparently one day be available to all of Hon Hai subsidiary Foxconn’s clients, Apple will be the first company to employ them in assembling products. Which product exactly it would be involved with was not stated, but the close proximity of the announcement to the rumored construction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone Air certainly makes one suspect that will be the case. Of course, we are also entering the window of time where the rumored iWatch should be entering production as well as the next iterations of the iPad Air and iPad mini.
Considering the number of devices Apple is currently rumored to have in the pipeline, the addition of robots makes a lot of sense. Apple also stated last year in a 10-K filing that it was investing as much as $10.5 billion in advanced supply chain upgrades, and specifically mentioned assembly robots as part of that plan.
Next time you pull a brand new Apple product out of a box, it may very well have been assembled by a robot.