• Apple was forced to move production outside of China due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • One of these places is India, where its partners have several plants
  • Apple may release the first "made in India" iPhone 12 by the middle of 2021, a report said

Apple may be able to release its first “made in India” iPhone 12 models by mid-2021, a report says.

Cupertino tech giant Apple is said to be planning to produce “iPhone 12” models in India that will be ready to ship by the middle of next year, Business Standard reported. This will be the seventh iPhone model to be made in the populous nation.

Sources “close to the development” of the new handsets told the news outlet that Apple partner Wistron will be the one to produce the India-made devices at a new facility in Karnataka, a state in southwest India.

The manufacturer is expected to hire up to 10,000 additional workers for the project and will start production in October, the report said. Currently, about a thousand of Wistron's employees are already working on the project.

This comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Apple's ability to produce new devices, particularly new iPhones. While the company is still on track to release a new lineup of flagship smartphones this year, it's no secret that the tech giant faced a slew of problems over the past several months.

Apple had to deal with production delays as its manufacturing partners in China needed to close temporarily in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus among workers. This eventually led the iPhone maker to shift production to other locations, such as India and Taiwan.

Apple is currently increasing the production of newer iPhone models in India. Its India-based partners were previously limited to producing older models that were priced low – until Foxconn started assembling iPhone 11 units in a plant near Chennai.

Apple is also scheduled to produce other newer models in the country. It will start the production of the iPhone 12 in a few months' time. The company will also start the production of 2020 iPhone SE units by the end of this year.

The move shows a shift in the company's reliance on China for its manufacturing needs.

Apple's Kaiann Drance talks about the new iPhone 11 during a launch event on Apple's Cupertino, California campus
Apple's Kaiann Drance talks about the new iPhone 11 during a launch event on Apple's Cupertino, California campus GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / JUSTIN SULLIVAN