Foxconn, Apple’s primary Chinese manufactory partner (and one of the world’s largest such OEMs) , is in the early stages of upgrading its mainland factories with a new fleet of robotic employees. Foxconn founder and chairman Terry Gou claims that
[t]he robots will be used to do simple and routine work such as spraying, welding and assembling which are now mainly conducted by workers.
Citing rising labor expenses and the need to increase production efficiency (the latter likely the bigger impetus, all things considered), the move will result in the short-term addition of some 290,000 robots by next year. In three years’ time, Gou claims his factories will house over a million such electronic workers. There’s no indication of any concrete workforce reduction ratio this implementation might entail, but some of the flesh-and-blood fleet is bound to be laid off.
So, your next iDevice might not be quite as “hand-made” as you’d like, but at least robots are less prone to suicide…