Apple had to make some major changes to the way it worked with assembly partners during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a greater reliance on Chinese engineers due to travel restrictions preventing most U.S.-based trips.

Apple’s highly secretive nature and high level of control over the supply chain previously involved the company sending out hundreds of engineers from the United States to China to work with assembly partners. With travel restrictions enforced throughout the pandemic, this severely limited the ability for Apple to continue its existing working practices.Apple used to book 50 business-class seats daily between San Francisco and Shanghai, at a cost of $35 million per year pre-pandemic.

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