Earlier this week, it was speculated that perhaps Apple has moved some of its manufacturing to the United States after some users discovered that their new iMacs had “Assembled in USA” etched on the back of the all-in-one desktop computer.
As it turns out, that speculation was correct. Leading up to his interview with Brian Williams, set to air on NBC tonight at 10 PM Eastern, Tim Cook has revealed that Apple will shift one of its entire Mac lineups to the United States in terms of manufacturing. It will cost the company over $100 million.
As per Bloomberg Businessweek:
And next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac. We’ve been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We’re really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it’s broader because we wanted to do something more substantial. So we’ll literally invest over $100 million. This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people, and we’ll be investing our money.
This move follows the high amount of criticism that Apple has received over the past year for its overseas manufacturing operations, particularly the claimed poor working conditions at its manufacturing partner Foxconn’s facilities in mainland China.
But even Foxconn is now looking to expand its U.S.-based operations, according to a company spokesperson that provided Bloomberg with the following statement:
“We are looking at doing more manufacturing in the U.S. because, in general, customers want more to be done there,” Louis Woo, a Foxconn spokesman, said in a phone interview. He declined to comment on individual clients or specific plans.
But there are obviously challenges involved with Foxconn increasing its operations to the United States, including the supply chain and the higher costs of labor in the United States compared to China.
“Supply chain is one of the big challenges for U.S. expansion,” Woo said. “In addition, any manufacturing we take back to the U.S. needs to leverage high-value engineering talent there in comparison to the low-cost labor of China.”
Foxconn is a manufacturing partner with several other consumer electronics makers, however, so these comments do not necessarily connect with Apple’s recent moves. But is is good news overall that both companies are planning to expand their American presence.
Apple currently fuels close to 600,000 jobs in the United States, and those jobs are almost evenly split between manufacturing and engineering and the iOS app ecosystem. iPhone processors are made in Texas, at Samsung plants, while the glass for the smartphones comes from Corning in Kentucky.