Apple is reportedly trialing AirPods production outside of China, with sources claiming supplier GoerTek will spend the summer manufacturing low quantities of the latest generation AirPods at its factory in northern Vietnam.
The trial is the first time AirPods have been produced outside China since they launched alongside the iPhone 7 in 2016.
Apple currently has three AirPods suppliers – GoerTek, Iventec, and Luxshare-ICT – with GoerTek believed to be the only supplier beginning out-of-China AirPods production at this time.
The report, shared by Nikkei Asian Review claims Apple is using the low-quantity Vietnamese production trial as a test ahead of a much larger push on producing AirPods outside of China, a move which noticeably is happening amid rumors of Apple planning an all-new third-generation version of AirPods, expected to launch later this year.
Apple’s plan to become less reliant on China comes amid the trade war initiated by the Trump administration. Apple is at risk of a 25% import tariff being placed on all products it imports from China, prompting Apple to widen iPhone production in India and look elsewhere for production of its products.
Apple already turns to Vietnam to produce its wired headphones.