updated 10:09 pm EDT, Tue May 29, 2012
Will work to add more US-made parts
During his talk with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at today's "All Things D" conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook defending the company's China-heavy manufacturing of its most popular product, the iPhone. Cook said that even in its current version, the back of the iPhone could add "several parts of the US" to its "Made in China" label, pointing to ARM chip manufacturing and the Gorilla Glass used for the screen.
Cook added that more could be done in the area of semiconductor part sourcing, and said the company is investigating that with "the whole of our influence," with US-based makers. He added that one of the main areas of manufacture, tool and die, couldn't be done in the US since there were so few tool and die makers left in the US. You'd need "several large cities" to hold all the tool and die makers in China. By comparison, you couldn't fill [a large room] with US tool and die makers, he said.
While saying Apple would create manufacturing jobs in the US wherever it could, he also pointed to the creation of the "app economy" and gave Apple credit for inventing it, which has created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US and around the world. He pointed out the shift and differences between traditional PCs and tablets as he had done earlier, saying the app market "didn't exist" during the first six AllThingsD conferences (prior to 2007) and now it was a major force in the tech economy.
"You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a [long] list of people making significant, innovative software on the PC," Cook said, referring to the personal computer industry rather than just Windows-based machines. But in the mobile world, he said, you'd need "several football stadiums" for everyone doing something new and interesting. He had earlier said that he didn't think the personal computer would go the way of netbooks, but would rather shift to being a more professional tool, with people buying them less often and relying on tablets for everyday tasks more.