Even at the ridiculously low pay rates at Foxconn, it was just a matter of time when the commodity of human labor would be too complicated to exploit. Foxconn reportedly has started deploying 10,000 robots which replace somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 workers. Within 3 years, Foxconn wants to install about 1 million robots - called Foxbots - and replace up to 1 million workers.
These robots do not immediately make financial sense as they apparently cost somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000 each and represent about three times the annual salary of an average worker at Foxconn - and this cost does not include running costs such as maintenance and power supply. But then we remember that salaries are likely to go up over time and Foxconn has had experience with complaints about labor conditions. These robots may be initially expensive, but they certainly will not ask for pay increases and not complain about the environment they work in and the number of hours they are online.
For Foxconn, this seems to be a natural move and automation is clearly an inevitable evolutionary development in the production iPhones and iPads. Singularity Hub says that Foxconn employs about 1.2 million people. It is rather unlikely that 80 percent of those will be moved within Foxconn to new jobs and robots certainly could mean massive layoffs, especially if Foxconn installs these Foxbots as quickly as it ramped the production of Apple gadgets.