Apple’s new iMac: Assembled in USA

“Your next Mac could be assembled in America. Apple is assembling at least some of the new, ultra-thin iMacs in the U.S.,” Matt Burns reports for TechCrunch.

“The backside stamp containing the serial code and FCC logo generally says ‘Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China,'” Burns reports. “But several owners of the new model quickly discovered their machines were made in the good ol’ US of A.”

Burns reports, “Apple has long made its products in the U.S. Its Elk Grove, Calif., complex opened in 1992 and retrofitted from a distribution center into a manufacturing plant in 1995. During the iMac’s heyday, it employed more than 1,500 people and pumped out computers seven days a week. The plant made its last computer in 2004 when then SVP of Worldwide Operations, Tim Cook, consolidated Apple’s manufacturing in what would be a successful move to maximize efficiency and margins. The Sacramento Business Journal noticed in September that Elk Grove’s workforce had grown 50 percent on the year. This could be the location of the iMac’s secret manufacturing base.”

iMac. Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in USA.
iMac. Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in USA.

Read more in the full article here.

37 Comments

  1. ‘Bout time. We have the ability, just need to get off our lazy hands and build something for a change. And they say the labor dollars aren’t in the product to generate them here. Hogwash!

      1. Yes, “more patriotic Americans” may find this a selling point.

        But what about the hordes of non-patriotic “Americans” who don’t care.

        In some places in this country, including some schools, patriotism is considered one step from religious bias. Makes no sense to me, but educators and others sometimes have to justify their own patriotism and promoting it in their students.

    1. I think that as the 3rd world starts to approach equilibrium (wages, skills, benefits, GDP, etc.) you’ll see the financial equations that originally lead to outsourcing begin to reverse. China is still a long way from parity of any sort (other than GDP) with the US, but you’re seeing the early stages of the shift happening — just like you’re seeing the early stages of China’s industries designing and competing with their products. Fascinating stuff.

    2. Cost of labor isn’t the issue. Never has been.

      The desktop is not Apple’s future, hasn’t been since 1995 when MSFT introduced Win95. What is Apple’s future is mobile, be it laptops or iOS devices.

      Desktops represent less than 4% of Apple’s Revenue, but consumes Foxcon production capacity that is sorely needed for mobile products. Moving iMac (and possibly laptop) production out of China frees up that sorely needed production capacity at minimal cost (mostly increased income taxes: State of California and Federal). Between them those two taxing agencies will take ~45% of the profit made assembling in the US, vs 0% in China. Add another 20% to the cost of labor for Social Security, Medicare, Federal Unemployment, State Unemployment, State Disability and Workers Compensation expenses.

      Taxation has always been the factor driving manufacturing out of the US, just like it has from western Europe (especially France).

      1. Yes, I remember reading about large orders for robots and Apple products. Import taxes are less on subassemblies vs finished products. Did you all miss the Brazil Apple assembly facility? I hope to see Apple spreading out their assembly plants all around the world.

  2. yep, assembling in china is cheap

    until you have to pay for all the auditing to make sure they do it up to the standards you want. then you have to ship months in advance by sea or pay through the nose for air freight.

    1. Yes on the auditing (though there’ll almost certainly be audits for US plants, too).

      On the shipping though: Steve Jobs said part of the issue was most of the components are manufactured in Asia. Assembling there means supply chain is much shorter than if they’re all shipped to be assembled in the US, and any component fixes take days not weeks to get to the assembler.

      1. If the point of assembly moves to the US, many of the component suppliers will move there as well. That’s what happened when several Japanese car makers started assembly in the US. Some of their suppliers also moved there to meet the car makers’ “just in time” requirements.

        In Apple’s case, Intel and Samsung already make CPUs in the US, while Corning (provider of Gorilla Glass) is also here.

        1. And the reason Japanese automakers started moving production to the US is that Japan is the only country with higher income taxes than the US.

          Its a testament to the US worker that they can remain competitive, even though wages here are higher than elsewhere. Its called productivity. But that advantage is wiped out by a taxation system the punishes manufacturing.

          1. You should’ve been more clear that you meant *corporate* tax rates. Income tax usually means personal taxes, since corporate “income” is normally called revenue.

    1. Tet, to the contrary, Apple is increasing its tax bill by a few points on the iMac. In the whole not significant compared to the production capacity that is freed up at Foxconn for iOS devices.

  3. They need to do what some of the high end European car makers do. For an extra charge you get to see your iMac assembled and you get to take delivery at the factory. Made in USA right in front of your eyes by Apple!

    1. BMWs are 7% cheaper if you pick it up at the factory in Munich, and they include shipping back to the US, to a dealer of your choice, or even to their US delivery center so you can take it out on their test track. You get tickets to the BMW Museum, and you can schedule a factory tour. Also included is European insurance while it’s over there. I picked up mine 12 years ago, and dropped it off in Paris, right under the Arc de Triomphe, after taking it thru Italy, Switzerland, Monaco and obviously France.

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