Apple CEO Tim Cook announces plans to manufacture Macs in USA; says TV is ‘area of intense interest’ inside Apple

“In an exclusive interview with Brian Williams airing tonight at 10pm/9c on NBC’s ‘Rock Center,’ Apple CEO Tim Cook announced one of the existing Mac lines will be manufactured exclusively in the United States next year,” Ronnie Polidoro reports for NBC News. “‘We’ve been working for years on doing more and more in the United States,’ Cook told Williams. It was Cook’s first interview since taking over from his visionary former boss, Steve Jobs, who resigned due to health reasons in August 2011. Jobs died on October 5, 2011, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.”

“Cook, who joined Apple in 1998, said he believes it’s important to bring more jobs to the United States. Apple would not reveal where exactly the Macs will be manufactured,” Polidoro reports. “‘When you back up and look at Apple’s effect on job creation in the United States, we estimate that we’ve created more than 600,000 jobs now,’ said Cook. Those jobs, not all Apple hires, vary from research and development jobs in California to retail store hires to third-party app developers.”

MacDailyNews Note: Set your DVRs: Brian Williams’ full interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook airs tonight, December 6th at 10pm Eastern on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.

“Given that, why doesn’t Apple leave China entirely and manufacture everything in the U.S.? ‘It’s not so much about price, it’s about the skills,’ Cook told Williams,” Polidoro reports. “Echoing a theme stated by many other companies, Cook said he believes the U.S. education system is failing to produce enough people with the skills needed for modern manufacturing processes. He added, however, that he hopes the new Mac project will help spur others to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. ‘The consumer electronics world was really never here,’ Cook said. ‘It’s a matter of starting it here.'”

Polidoro reports, “What’s next for Apple? Did Cook leave us with a clue? ‘When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,’ Cook told Williams. ‘It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Next-gen Mac Pro? With the line’s smaller production volume requirements, it’d be a good candidate and, this past June, Tim Cook stated that Apple is working on professional Mac for “later next year.”

Related article:
Tim Cook: Apple is working on professional Mac for ‘later next year’ – June 12, 2012

45 Comments

  1. I have been using Mackintoshes since they first came out. I am looking forward to getting an iMac in the near future that will have Made in the U.S.A. Inscribed on it. I understand that not everything can be made here. But would like to see more of it made here. And this is a good start, I hope of a good trend in that direction. Live Long and Prosper! Apple.

      1. Man waiting for a bus in London: “You got a light, Mac?”
        Other man: “No but I’ve got a dark brown overcoat.”

        Vivian Stanshall with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, sometime in the 1970s.

  2. Economic benefit for the country will be practically non-existent. The number of new jobs created by a production line of Macs will be likely only in the hundreds. The town that ends up hosting this new production line will likely feel the bump (if it is a small town), but otherwise, the actual value of this work will be a massive PR benefit. It is impossible to overestimate the significance of Apple being able to say “We make our Macs right here, in America!”. Let us see how Apple ends up using this very powerful PR weapon.

      1. What’s with the hate?? What part of my statement is not correct???

        That Apple is doing this means that the idea is feasible; in other words, that the combination of ultra-cheap and readily available skilled workforce in China, together with the expenditures and logistics of shipping the finished product back to the US, can be matched by much more expensive workforce in the US, but with significantly lower logistical expenses. Apple probably wouldn’t do it if the difference was significant (and I have no doubt that there is a difference, and it costs more to do it in the US).

        The point that I made (and that Mark perfectly understood) was that Apple, as the biggest company in the world (by market cap) can afford to lead the way, and challenge other American companies to set up manufacturing in America. The fact that it only brings a few hundred jobs to some (presumably) rural area is obviously of little significance; much more significant is that fact that it puts everyone else on the spot. In other words, the PR value of it.

        1. It is significant, your position is arrogant and based on assumption.

          First of all, you have no idea how any jobs this will lead to.

          To say it is insignifigant for the dominant consumer electronics manufacturer to BEGIN moving manufacturing operations back to the US is disingenuous and false. That IS a SIGNIFICANT development. (Remember: “it can’t be done”)

          1. You are STILL not reading what I’m writing:

            …”much more significant is the fact that it puts everyone else on the spot…”.

            Even if we assume for the moment I am wrong about the number of new jobs this will generate, there is absolutely NO WAY that number can be significant for the American economy in any meaningful way. Even if they bring 10,000 new jobs, this is still nothing compared to over 20 million unemployed Americans today. Once again: the total of new jobs brought in by Apple is INSIGNIFICANT (for the economy). The significance is that someone is bringing manufacturing back into America, and other companies, with manufacturing abroad, are being put on the spot.

            Which part here is arrogant???

    1. Assembled, not Made. Some of its parts will continue to come from China, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, etc. Supply chains these days are global. But it’s a start.

      My last “Assembled in USA” Mac was a dual-CPU Powermac. Sold it in 2008 and bought a new “Assembled in China” iMac.

  3. How about reinventing server blades with low power ARM and Apple’s new SSD. Rip out the remaining server business from Dell and HP. Consider a cloud server system drawing 1/2 or 1/4 the power of an Intel Windows PC box or old school server. Apple understands this industry and will be building several server farm around the world over the next few years. It will also be the media storage in the cloud for Apple’s new TV reinvention!

    1. Apple has been too wishy-washy in Enterprise over the years. They have abandoned the server market twice, not sure they will get a third shot. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

      Bottom line be damned, they NEVER should have discontinued the Xserve. They lost all credibility in that market. Serious server users will not roll out the red carpet for Apple again.

        1. You are kidding right?

          This big rush to ‘the cloud’ and you think there is no future in the server industry?

          There has been a slow down in server uptake this year, but I’d hardly equate that to ‘no future’.

  4. “Cook said he believes the U.S. education system is failing to produce enough people with the skills needed for modern manufacturing processes.”

    I don’t quite understand that statement, they’re teaching high-tech assembly techniques in Chinese high schools now? Regardless of where Apple assembles their products, it would require specialized on-the-job training to produce them. I submit it is money: the lower cost of the Asian workforce who aren’t financing their federal government with 40% of their annual income.

    1. The Chinese have us by the short and curlies. A BBC news team toured a Huawei plant recently and were told by a female director that they employ 50,000 R&D engineers. This is a Communist run commercial company with massive reach into communication equipment worldwide. Can you think of one country anywhere else in the world that might be able to compete?

      1. Bah, the bulk of Foxconn’s workforce are farm girls who immigrate into the cities and assemble iPhones. I wager that Stanford, MIT, etc graduates can compete anywhere, anytime against anyone..the rape of the American worker by its own government is the culprit of the US inability to compete financially against China.

    2. Here’s the problem. Manufacturing doesn’t need MIT and Stanford graduates. Those guys are way overqualified. Manufacturing needs nuts and bolts industrial engineers with BS degrees. Engineers willing to design assembly lines as well as tinker with machines to make everything run more efficiently.

      But the US doesn’t produce many of these kind of engineers. Why? Because students don’t go into engineering. Students say the math is too hard or the other students are too geeky or they can’t make as much money as a doctor or Wall Street parasite. So instead students go into law or liberal arts or some other field that has a huge oversupply of graduates.

      So if America wants to blame someone for this problem it should look in the mirror.

  5. Perhaps it’s only a PR stunt, but it resonates with a story I read in The Atlantic earlier this week about GE bringing appliance manufacturing back to Appliance Park in Kentucky.

    Data is not the plural of anecdote, and all that.

  6. If they can get the following done in the USA:
    1) Silicon production
    2) PWB manufacturing
    3) Board population
    4) PIC programming
    5) Assembly

    They could argue that they make the most secure computer on the market and the public sector would have to take notice.

    just my $0.02

  7. Wall Street destroyed America with its insidiousness.

    For decades Wall Street has infiltrated into academia, governments, corporations, mass media and preached how easily America could create wealth out of nothing. It was drummed into the heads of everyone concerned that America is too big to fail and since America is the repository of human ingenuity and inventiveness no other country could match what America has to offer to the world. America could be able to give up as much advantages in “sunset industries” and yet be able to leapfrog the march of progress. Wall Street would guide America into the brave new world of financial management with new smart theories of human creativity.

    The traditional ideas of hard work, prudence, savings, human dignity, and manufacturing are all so old school and can be replaced with the new orthodoxy of greed, speculation and the might of the US dollar. With the power of the computer and new software of financial manipulation, America would never again make any mistake that it could not be able to correct.

    Coupled with this arrogance and hubris, and America being the sole world superpower, America could use its might and financial wizardry to bend other countries to its wishes.

    Americans bought this snail oil from Wall Street without hesitation. Corporations began to pile up debts with Wall Street banks in order to expand; they followed Wall Street’s advice to outsource labor and skill to countries with cheap labor and transformed themselves into just agencies. Grab market share without the burden of carrying on old school’s baggages was Wall Street’s mantra. Academia and mass media supported Wall Street’s theories with rosy endorsement. Consumers were fooled that they would prosper and acquire more possessions through debt rather than through savings. Politicians were bought with Wall Street’s money to pass legislation in Wall Street’s favor. Presidents from the Kennedy’s era to Barrack Obama’s devoted more energy and time to foreign affairs and ignored domestic affairs altogether. Wall Street with its financial wizardry can take care of this area is a given. For a time things seem to work to Wall Street’s prescriptions.

    Then all of a sudden, everything went wrong and America found that it was house build on a foundation of sand. Where at one time any problem can be tackled with a can-do attitude, now it’s a pointing finger affair. America never seems to do anything well nowadays. Institutions are broken, politicians are corrupt, simple problems never seem to be able to be solved. The age of America’s greatness is over. Mediocrity is the order of the day and America is the sick man of the world. Thanks to Wall Street’s version of stupidity.

    1. You cannot blame it all on Wall Street.

      Moving manufacturing off-shore was a long tern decision. They not only had to build factories, but the support structure (transpiration, suppliers, etc) to support them. They moved because the saw in the US rising Union demands, not just for pay, but long terms and ruinously costly benefits (ie. GM, that healthcare company that happens to make cars). Lack of an energy policy that was going to make it more expensive to run the factories year after year, Increasingly complex and adversarial environmental regulations that were making it more difficult to find a location to build. With rising labor and transportation costs as well as lower US energy cost (due to Fracking) some companies are looking to move back.

      A BIG concern is lack of trained engineers. As others have mentioned, not just at the high end, but on the assembly line. US Schools need to turn out more Industrial Technology (IT) and Engineering grads. Steve Jobs complained that in China Apple was able to hire as many qualified engineers in one week what would have taken 6 months in the US.

  8. Steve Jobs said a similar thing about engineers in his bio book. He said he did not mean MIT engineers, but those at the A.S. and B.S. level. They are not required to man the assembly lines, but to monitor them.

    Why can China supply them? It is a numbers game. They have more (equivalent to) honors students in school than we have total students. To compete, we have to do more with historically lower performing learners. We cannot rely soley on sorting, right now, they can.

    1. A numbers game? You surmise that it is just because they have more people and honors students that manufacturing went there?

      NONSENSE!! Greed is what sent it there.

      Slave level wages, little to no environmental protection, no labor laws protecting the workers, ability to work children, rampant corruption to grease the wheels of industry.

      American manufacturing went to China where it could exploit the work force and not worry about environmental impact while increasing profits.

  9. vsp is correct in general. Innovative companies don’t go to Wall Street to raise capital. Wall Street is a gambling den. Average time of an investment is 22 seconds, most volume automated trading. Devotion to the religion of short-term profit maximization yields a few winners and billions of losers — distribution of wealth according to Wall Street convention has no correlation to effort, innovation, or human benefit. It’s easy to understand how a brain surgeon can be worth millions in compensation. It’s impossible to justify broker salaries.

    Sad to see that their greed has sold so well — a shocking number of “educated” Americans think the US can’t compete in manufacturing. Well, that may be true if your goal is to build a disposable Wal-mart economy. If you want prosperity for all, you build durable innovative high-value goods.

    Germany has already shown how quality, skilled manufacturing is profitable without raping the worker. Educated workers are better workers, pure and simple. Managers are not worth hundreds of times what the line worker is rewarded.

    Happy to see that Apple realizes this, happy to see that it is investing in a more robust, less-constrained production chain, and also happy that everyone who criticized me for proposing this months ago can now eat crow.

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