Production of iPhone 16: a looming risk due to tensions

For the past two months, relations between the United States and China have become increasingly complicated. Disputes that have consequences for the electronics industry: companies from one country are restricted from collaborating with those from the other and vice versa. This could have implications for the production of chips for Apple’s iPhone.

In February, the United States shot down a surveillance balloon belonging to China: a diplomatic incident ensued between the two superpowers. Two countries which are now waging an economic and industrial war, by restricting specialized local companies. If for the moment this has no consequence on the chips that Apple needs, the production of the iPhone, on the other hand, could be threatened.

A priori no problem for the iPhone 15 whose mass production would have already started. On the other hand, for the following models, such as the iPhone 16,

US manufacturers find it increasingly difficult to work with Chinese factories

It is 9to5Mac which recalls the various restrictions put in place by the two countries. For example, China has banned government-affiliated companies from sourcing chips from Micron. For its part, the US government has banned the sale of artificial intelligence services through the cloud (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, etc.) to China.

We also note that China has implemented export controls for two materials: gallium and germanium. These are raw materials for the manufacture of electronic chips. According to information from the agency ReutersAmerican companies are putting everything in place to supply themselves before the August 1 deadline.

No impact so far

On the side of Apple, its main supplier of electronic chips, it is the Taiwanese giant TSMC. According Reuters Still, TSMC does not expect its production to be affected by Xi Jinping’s government restrictions, according to company statements.

However, for some analysts, China could extend export controls to other rare earths, including lithium. This would pose a huge problem for the manufacture of the batteries of our smartphones, since it is the main element.

Former Vice Minister of Commerce Wei Jianguo told the official daily China Daily that these restrictions were “not just a start “. According to him, the government has other weapons in hand to go further. This could be the case if the controls that will come into effect do not have consequences for American companies.

Note that the Chinese measures could affect other foreign brands, but it is obviously the case of Apple, the American champion par excellence, which inevitably attracts the most attention.

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