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Foxconn Set to Deploy Robots to Help Assemble the iPhone

At a recent shareholder meeting, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou announced that the company will soon deploy robots to help assemble devices, noting that Apple will be the first company to use the service, reports IT Home (Google Translate, via GSMDome).

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Named "Foxbots", each robot will be able to assemble an average of 30,000 devices and costs anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 to make. Gou stated that the assembly devices are undergoing their final testing phase, as Foxconn plans to deploy 10,000 robots to its factories.

Foxconn has been Apple's longtime primary partner in assembling its iPhones, iPads, and iPods. In 2011, it was reported that Foxconn would be replacing a portion of its workers with 1 million robots, although it was not clear at the time how many jobs would be replaced by the robots.

As a part of its 2013 10-K annual report last year, Apple also revealed that it was investing a record $10.5 billion on advanced supply chain technology, with some of that investment going towards advanced machinery including assembly robots. A report earlier this year noted that Apple would be moving production of iPhone batteries to automated lines, allowing suppliers to reduce manpower demand and shift resources towards production efforts on other parts.

Foxconn has recently ramped up its production efforts ahead of the launch of Apple's iPhone 6 this fall, with the company bringing on 100,000 new workers to help assemble the iPhone 6. Production of the new device is reportedly set to ramp up next month ahead of a launch around September. The iPhone 6 is expected to come in two sizes of 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, and feature a thinner profile, an improved camera, a faster A8 processor, and more.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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10 weeks ago
it seems like there's some data missing here...

each robot will be able to assemble an average of 30,000 devices and costs anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 to make.


30,000 devices... in ... what? hours? days? weeks? months? does it drop dead after the 30,000th device, like some kind of strange death mechanism, before it realizes its leading a hollow, meaningless existence and offs itself by by plugging itself into a counterfeit chinese wall charger and exploding? Or is it like a Replicant out of Blade Runner, implanted with the memories of a dead assembly line worker in order for it to not question its purpose in life, and after 30,000 devices assembled, it has to be programmed to self-destruct before it realizes its place and rises up against its human oppressors?

do tell more...
Rating: 32 Votes
10 weeks ago
Somebody else posted this a while ago, but here we go:
Rating: 23 Votes
10 weeks ago
Foxbots, not to be confused with Fembots.

Rating: 21 Votes
10 weeks ago

I wonder what will happen to the employment situation in China when Chinese factories start using robots instead of workers.


Pre-robots era: "OMG Apple is so inhuman with their workers in China"
Post-robots era: "OMG Apple is so inhuman by firing people and replacing them with robots"

Trust me.
Rating: 20 Votes
10 weeks ago
I wonder what will happen to the employment situation in China when Chinese factories start using robots instead of workers.
Rating: 19 Votes
10 weeks ago

This is just the eventuality of industry.



They just pay them welfare. It works here.


This may be the most asinine comment I've ever read on MacRumors.
Rating: 18 Votes
10 weeks ago

I wonder what will happen to the employment situation in China when Chinese factories start using robots instead of workers.


All the posters who complain all the time that Apple shouldn't use "slave labour" in China will surely be rejoicing. Or maybe it will be a wakeup call for them that these are jobs that people actually want.
Rating: 17 Votes
10 weeks ago

…..Goodbye finished part leaks?…..


Yup, robots are less inclined to tattle, or take pictures of their handywork...lol
Rating: 10 Votes
10 weeks ago
Samsung just announced they will be purchasing 10,001 robots.
Rating: 8 Votes
10 weeks ago
I don't know which is worse: continuing to pay relatively cruddy wages to workers for boring factory jobs or getting rid of the workers and replacing them with robots.

I don't understand why each robot can only assemble 30,000 iPhones. What happens after that - do the robots fall apart or are they unionized and they get to retire?

I also wonder who is designing and who owns these robots - Foxconn or Apple? If it's not Foxconn and the iPhone and/or other Apple products can be completely assembled by robots, then why not have factories around the world (including the U.S.), not just in China?
Rating: 7 Votes

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