Wednesday 24 July 2019

Revealed: Eight facts you may not know about the Apple Irish plant

The Cork campus is responsible for shipping hundreds of millions of products across 13 time zones around the world
The Cork campus is responsible for shipping hundreds of millions of products across 13 time zones around the world

1. Apple has a higher percentage of remote workers in Ireland than almost any other big tech company

Of some 6,000 people employed by Apple in Hollyhill, 700 work from home. That's a relatively big number. While a minimum broadband speed of 6Mbs is needed to do this, the company says home broadband hasn't been a major problem for recruits.

2. Hollyhill is Apple's only self-operated manufacturing facility in the world.

Specifically, it builds iMacs to order. "There are almost 35,000 configurations possible," says one manager. "Shipping them from here saves the customer delivery time." It's not a comparatively high volume operation with under 10,000 units per week.

3. Siri jokes get tested in Cork

Apple's voice recognition technology has to be put through many paces in Cork. Among other things, jokes built in to Siri's responses have to be fine-tuned so as not to unduly offend in the language of translation.

4. Hollyhill is now looking to India

As if over a billion people in Europe, the Middle East and Africa wasn't enough to be dealing with, Apple Cork is now looking at some elements in the expanding Indian market.

5. Cork is a global transport logistics hub for Apple

When a new iPhone is launched, Cork's managers become responsible for overseeing thousands of delivery trucks, flights and other practical arrangements to make sure the devices get to shops and depots.

6. An Apple Store for Ireland doesn't appear imminent

One of the longstanding questions Apple users in Ireland have is when an Apple Store might arrive here. There is one in Belfast, because Apple has a physical retail chain in the UK.

For a while there was speculation over a number of possibly suitable Dublin buildings, including the vacant Clerys on O'Connell Street and the former HMV on Grafton Street. Alas, the noises from senior staff in Cork aren't positive. "It sometimes takes years to get a store into a country and it's not just dependent on the size of the population," said one manager.

7. More than 90 nationalities work at Apple Cork

Of some 6,000 working there, approximately half are Irish , with almost 700 French and 460 Germans. The Italians are next, followed by the English, Spanish and Polish. Many have settled in Cork permanently. 53 languages are supported across 147 countries.

8. Almost no-one in Holyhill knows details of the next iPhone

Despite some advance "disclosure" of component details, virtually no-one gets full confirmation of what the world speculates on. "This actually helps us," said one retail planning executive. "It means we don't come under pressure from contacts, not to mention friends and family."

Irish Independent

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