Rumor: Apple to switch to automated battery assembly for this year's 'iPhone 6'

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Batteries for Apple's next-generation iPhone may be assembled on fully automated production lines in China, rather than through manual labor, a new rumor out of the Far East claims.

Alleged details on Apple's manufacturing process for the company's anticipated "iPhone 6" were shared on Monday by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese publication with a notorious reputation for being the source of bogus Apple-related rumors. However, in the case of its latest story, there is a precedent, as Apple already relies heavily on automation, rather than worker-driven manual assembly, for its made-in-America Mac Pro and iMac desktops.

The anticipated move by Apple is said to be driven by increasing cost of minimum wage in China. Younger workers are also said to be avoiding jobs in the manufacturing industry, leading to labor shortages and high turnover.

While automated production lines would allow Apple to move manufacturing wherever the company pleases, Monday's report said it's unlikely that iPhone assembly would be moved from China, as most other component supply partners are still based out of the Far East.

Batteries in Apple's next-generation devices have been the subject of much speculation in recent months, after it was revealed that Apple executives have held discussions with electric car maker Tesla. Tesla's forthcoming mega battery factory in the U.S. has been seen by some as a potential partnership opportunity between the two forward thinking companies.