Infographic: where iPhones are manufactured, and why

Saving money may only be a part of the reason Apple iPhones are manufactured outside of the U.S., new research demonstrates. Nimbleness is a big factor.

Apple does not manufacture any of its iPhones within the United States, its home country and main market. Is it to save money? That may only be part of the story, a new aggregation of research demonstrates.

Alex Hillsberg designed an infographic for FinanceOnline that illustrates where Apple manufactures its iPhones, and why they are manufactured where they are. For example, China is the source of most of the rare-earth minerals required for iPhone, while the world's top two memory chipmakers are in Taiwan and South Korea. The LCD, touch-sensor middle glass, outer glass and gyroscope are made in Europe, and most iPhones are then assembled in China.

Pointedly, Hillsberg says that the decision to go with international suppliers was driven by their speed to market: when Apple CEO Steve Jobs decided he wanted a glass screen on the device just a few weeks before the launch, American manufacturers balked at the deadline. Their Chinese counterparts, however, had a factory ready with 8,000 workers to produce 10,000 phones daily, before the contract was even signed. The Chinese can hire and have a workforce of 200,000 factory workers ready within 15 days, compared to the nine months it would take to have a similar facility ready to go in the U.S.

How iPhones Are Made: A Surprising Report on How Much of Apple's Top Product is US-manufactured

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(Thumbnail photo: Joe McKendrick)

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