AirPods Pro 2 will be produced in Vietnam amid reports Apple wants to increase production outside China, analyst says
Apple's long-awaited premium true wireless earbuds, AirPods Pro 2, are expected to enter production later this year. However, it is reportedly moving to Vietnam as the iPhone maker is said to be planning to diversify its production sites outside China.
The report comes from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said in a series of tweets on Tuesday that the AirPods Pro 2 mass production will start sometime in the second half of 2022. Moving the production to Vietnam is said to be one "successful case" of Apple's plan to produce key products in other countries.
Kuo released his insights following a Wall Street Journal report that said Apple is looking to increase production outside China. The same report noted that India could be deemed as "the next China" in terms of Apple production due to its population size and low production costs. However, both the article and Kuo said that it would be easier for Apple's Chinese suppliers to set up new sites in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian territories for geopolitical reasons.
While moving the AirPods Pro 2 production outside China has reportedly been a success, the analyst suggested it might not be that easy to replicate for other Apple products. "The shift of AirPods Pro 2 production can be attributed to the relatively not complicated supply chain and Vietnam's better production environment (such as infrastructure and workforce) vs. most countries outside China," Kuo added. "It's very challenging to duplicate the successful experience of AirPods Pro 2 to other products or countries in the short term."
WSJ also noted that Luxshare previously shared the concerns of unnamed clients about production issues due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without naming any partners, Luxshare said these clients have asked manufacturers to perform the new product introduction (NPI) outside China.
NPI is a stage in production where manufacturers like Luxshare create a clear manufacturing plan based on product prototypes and concepts from its partners like Apple. While the AirPods Pro 2 production is expected to happen in Vietnam later this year, Kuo said the product's NPI is still in China.
A recent prediction from Kuo said Apple's transition to USB-C from Lightning ports for the iPhone could happen as soon as next year. The analyst also said the change could be implemented for Apple accessories like AirPods, and Kuo said he expects Apple to retain the Lightning port on the AirPods Pro 2. The true wireless earbuds are also expected to launch in the second half of this year.