How Liam Could Solve Apple's India iPhone Problem

Earlier in April Tim Culpan over at Bloomberg wrote a great piece about the challenge that Apple and other western companies face in India. Back then he was hearing that Apple's bid to have refurbished iPhones selling cheaply in India was, again, going to be rejected. Now it's official, and so his speculation on How Apple can fix this is especially interesting.

While Brazilians dreamed of massive Shenzhen-scale factories employing hundreds of thousands of workers, Foxconn found a workaround. Instead of gathering the dozens of different components and compiling them in-country, Foxconn simply shipped almost-completed devices, akin to Lego kits, and had a far smaller workforce slot them together. Proudly bearing the label "Made in Brazil," these iPhones were still mostly Chinese.

Until recently, Apple took a ``shred everything" approach to recycling iPhones. Devices were torn apart with components crushed or melted down to their raw materials. Now the company has Liam, a robot that Apple claims can disassemble 1.2 million iPhones annually and separate them into parts.

Liam is a fascinating development. This would certainly deliver on Lisa Jackson's goal of having those parts end up back in iPhones