Apple is starting to move production of the Mac line back to the U.S. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated they have been working on doing this for a long time and it will happen in 2013. Cook had an exclusive interview with Brian Williams of NBC’s Rock Center that will air tonight.
“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.”
It is currently not known which Mac products will be brought back to the U.S., but it is a start to bring manufacturing back. Cook stated, “The consumer electronics world was really never here, it’s a matter of starting it here.” Manufacturing left the U.S. before the majority of consumer electronics started to increase in popularity.
Google recently had a similar strategy with the Nexus Q wireless home media player. Underneath the Nexus Q it had a simple inscription: “Designed and Manufactured in the U.S.A.” Google executives built the player here to experiment with American manufacturing. ‘Why don’t we try it and see what happens?’ ” said Google’s Andy Rubin. The product was almost immediately removed from the Google Play Store after launch and all customers who ordered received a free Nexus Q instead. It was a somewhat pricey device at $299 and it’s real purpose was never really shown in it’s first launch attempt. The internal quality was considered extremely high on the device, but the price point was above the market average for similar devices.
9 to 5 Mac recently reported that some of the iMacs are already being assembled in the U.S. This could have been a test to see how the market would handle manufacturing again. Apple isn’t just putting a few screws into the products in California and putting a sticker on the product. 9 to 5 also pointed out the FTC’s stance on “Assembled in the USA”.
A product that includes foreign components may be called “Assembled in USA” without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial. For the “assembly” claim to be valid, the product’s last “substantial transformation” also should have occurred in the U.S. That’s why a “screwdriver” assembly in the U.S. of foreign components into a final product at the end of the manufacturing process doesn’t usually qualify for the “Assembled in USA” claim.
A major reason to bring production and manufacturing back to the states is IP theft. Most companies know it is a matter of time before their product is somehow copied and sold for cheaper. It’s a matter of how long and not if it will be done. Apple has dealt with this on most of their products over the years and it is cheaper to produce in China, but how do you compensate for counterfeit products? Steve Job’s was not shy about his thoughts on IP theft when he was the CEO. With his passion on the subject, this move has most likely been in motion for a few years.
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