A lot goes into making an iPhone: Gorilla Glass, an A6 chip, circuit boards, the accelerometer, various other components, transistors, wires, and connectors. And then there’s the software on top of that.
But assembly is just the last chapter in the story. Before those factory workers can assemble all those components into an iPhone, someone has to make those components. As it turns out, those parts come from all over the world — including China’s Inner Mongolia, where most of the rare earth elements needed to make the screen, the glass, and the speakers come from.
Typically Apple doesn’t disclose a lot of these details, so some of the data here is guesswork. But this is the most extensive look at the complexity of the iPhone’s supply chain that I’ve seen yet. It’s a great snapshot of the interconnected, global electronics manufacturing industry.