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Some iMacs carrying ‘Assembled in USA’ label

updated 05:06 am EST, Mon December 3, 2012

Apple returns manufacturing operations to US shores

Apple appears to be assembling at least some of its next-generation iMacs in the USA. The latest teardown by iFixit shows markings that appear on the rear of an iMac that show the words "Designed by Apple in California Assembled in USA." Although Apple has yet to publicly comment on the matter, it may mark the first time since the early 2000's that Apple has done routine assembly of its major hardware in the US.

Earlier this year at the AllThingsD conference, Tim Cook indicated that Apple would like to manufacture some if its products in the US again. In fact, for many years, Apple owned its own manufacturing facilities before it began outsourcing production as it sought to remain financially viable in the late 90's. Since then, nearly all of its products have been manufactured in Asia, with some products coming out of Foxconn's new South American plant. Some built-to-order products have been assembled outside those regions before, but never in significant numbers.

The iMac line is not the volume seller that its mobile products or even its notebooks are, making them one of the most viable of its major products suitable for assembly in the US. When asking what exactly does "Assembled in the US" mean, CNet referenced a Lenovo description of its assembly plant in North Carolina:

According to US law, products assembled in the US but containining foreign-made components should carry the marking "Assembled in the US with some foreign content." Comment has been sought by Apple to help clarify the situation, and MacNN will update this article when the company offers a response. Given the company's incredible profits and the troubles it has had with its Asian Foxconn operations, it may be that CEO Tim Cook has attempted to make more than a symbolic gesture to return manufacturing of Apple's US shores.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Dan Birchall

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-03-12

    Apple never stopped assembling major desktop hardware in the US, to my knowledge. Five seconds of Googling finds people as recently as 2009 stating in public web forums that their build-to-order Mac Pro desktops were assembled here, either in California (Elk Grove) or Texas (Austin?). I believe I've seen mention of the late XServes being made in those places as well. So sure, if you're just cranking out cookie-cutter stuff and shipping it by the planeload, assembly in China makes sense - but when you start doing one-off customization, you lose that efficiency of scale.

  1. Zanziboy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-27-08

    The fact that some of Apple's new products are being assembled in the US is a good sign. I believe there is little logic in Apple assembling all of their products overseas as this leaves Apple's US sales extremely vulnerable to currency fluctuations. In addition, Apple should have multiple assemblers for each of its major product lines. Second-sourcing for both parts and assembly allows cross-polination of production optimizations when there is a critical production roadblock such as with the iPhone 5. Apple needs to apply the same model to sub-system elements to make benefit from further optimizations.

  1. blahblahbber


    Joined: 02-01-05

    This article is wrong... "makes" does not equate assemble.

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