Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement may face a dilemma over buying the new iPhone X, because some of its manufacturers are located in Israel.
Apple unveiled its iPhone X last week for a market price of $1,000, along with launching the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus. Although the American tech giant is based in California and employs hundreds of sub-suppliers, many the components found inside Apple’s iPhones and products are built and assembled in Israel.
Apple began Israeli operations in late 2011, and its Herzliya office employs some 800 people, making it the company’s second-largest research and development office, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a previous visit to the country.
The Herzliya office was reported to be developing the hardware for the iPhone 8 last year, according to Business Insider.
Israeli technology has also contributed to the facial-recognition technology behind the iPhone X.
Nicknamed Face ID, the all-screen phone requires your face to unlock the new iPhone. With no physical home button, Apple has ditched Touch ID functionality.
Earlier this year, Apple acquired the Israeli-founded RealFace, a company that specializes in cybersecurity and which developed facial recognition software for users to log in.
The iPhone X comes in two versions – one with a Qualcomm modem and one with an Intel modem.
Intel maintains a large corporate presence in Israel, with three factories in the country. Its biggest plant is in the southern town of Kiryat Gat and it manufactures some of the world’s most cutting-edge computer chips.
In total, the company employs some 10,000 Israelis, many of them as engineers, technicians and graphic designers.
Orbotech is another Israeli company that helped develop previous iPhone models and it has helped supply many different components for the screen.
While the main assembly for the iPhone takes place at the Foxconn factory in China – a site that has been accused of harsh working conditions – one US-company with a subsidiary in Israel, Vishay Intertechnology, is on Apple’s list of suppliers.
Vishay and its Israeli subsidiary are among the largest manufacturers of smartphone components. The company has three factories in Israel, in the Negev cities of Beersheba and Dimona and in the Galilee town of Migdal Ha’emek.
Another company is PrimeSense, an Israeli company that Apple bought in 2013; it specializes in the development of motion sensors and 3D sensing cameras. Nearly a thousand Israelis work there, developing technologies such as augmented-reality and artificial intelligence.
Some of the augmented reality tools used in the iPhone were developed there.
Apple’s newest smartphone and its long list of suppliers all trace back to Israeli research centers and Israeli computer coders and engineers. The ties to Israel may make it difficult for Apple product consumers who seek to boycott the Jewish state.
An Israeli BDS activist who sought anonymity said she wanted Apple to act against Israeli government policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“We advise Apple to take the recent advice of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and make sure that their business isn’t marred with the legal implications of aiding and abating and complicity with war crimes,” the activist said.
An Apple representative was not available for comment as of press time.
Customers in many countries will be able to pre-order the iPhone X starting on October 27. They will be able to buy the phone in stores starting on November 3. Israel should expect to get the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus later in the month.
Reported by: Max Schindler – Jerusalem Post