Apple's iPod Supply Chain

Last month, I wrote a blog entry on Apples’ iPhone Supply Chain. In it, I noted that "it looks as if Apple might be putting all of its supply chain eggs together in one basket -- or at least one regional basket, that is. After all, they did the same thing with key components for the iPod, too. Still, I'll forgive them even if I'm waiting until late summer for my iPhone if it proves to be everything that I am expecting."

Well, since the device has finally reached the market -- and what a category killer it is -- it's now possible to dissect a specimen to better understand what's underneath the covers (and where the various components and parts came from). One article I recently read notes that "30 companies on 3 continents work together to make Apple's first phone possible. Apple, of course, designs the product, and also created the single most important 'component' -- the software that gives the iPhone its unique personality."

But there's a mystery behind the iPhone. No one in the industry has discovered the final link in the inbound supply chain. According to the article, "no matter where the iPhone's myriad components are made, they all end up in one place: the factories of a lead contractor whose identity is now something of a mystery. Apple's iPod manufacturing partner, Taiwan's Foxconn, was long rumored to be the company that assembled the hundreds of components into a sleek iPhone. However, Foxconn's CEO recently surprised investors by telling them that these reports were incorrect."

So who makes the iPhone. Maybe this blogger knows, but if I told you, I’d have to kill you (or I could just give you my old Windows CE device and you’d commit suicide out of frustration).

Jason Busch

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