Re-delivery of Technology in the present and near future
As it currently stands, Apple is the most profitable company on Earth with massive cash reserves. Samsung also stands as a large entity in the world of smartphones.
Much of Apple’s rise was via the production of the iPhone; arguably the iPhone borrowed from those before it and brought much of the world forward when it came to telecommunications and portable computing. Apple was never the inventor of the internet, cellular telephony or anything else, but has been able to provide a software ecosystem and marketing that makes consumers comfortable.
The hardware element of Apple has always been provided by other manufacturers, processors have been provided by Motorola, IBM and Intel. The retina display is produced by someone else.
The human cost of Apple’s usage of Asia as a manufacturing hub is well documented. “Foxconn suicides” is still a headline that many people will be familiar with. On top of manufacturing for Apple, Foxconn alone also provided services for Dell, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia and Sony — all companies that are internationally renowned and that don’t actually originate in China.
Will the push of technology companies to employ cheaper labor and a friendlier system for manufacturers in China worked against themselves in the long run?
It can easily be seen that from the availability of cheaper, faster to reach market smartphones and other electronic devices that Asia has seen a drastic change in the pace of manufacturing.
Beyond the software ecosystems there doesn’t seem to be much that isn’t readily available from a manufacturing standpoint. As software changes in nature and openness of hardware becomes more readily available (reaching back to the point of its origin, the humble personal computer) — a locked down smartphone seems likely to be reaching the end of its lifespan.
As the human race raises the bar every few months with a new found advancement, will the placement of highly advanced manufacturing facilities and personnel within Asia mean that the familiarly etched wording “Designed in California” will be replaced in the near future by other locales.
As electric cars and advanced robotics enter the marketplace, will China be able to use its manufacturing prowess to redeliver the same products, at the same quality for a far lower price to the marketplace? Will China take advantage of the huge investments towards manufacturing by external entities and use this as an edge to push towards the world a far different standard of products?