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.