Apple’s ‘Made in USA’ computer likely to be Mac Pro

“When Tim Cook announced Thursday that Apple would be investing $100 million to build one of its Mac line of computers exclusively in the U.S. next year, he didn’t say which line that was,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes for Fortune.

 
P.E.D. writes, “But he really didn’t have to. There’s only one Mac that fits the bill, and that’s the Mac Pro. Here’s why…”

 
Read more in the full article here.

 

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote Thursday morning: 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 articles:
Apple’s return of Mac production to U.S. next year to go well beyond mere assembly – December 7, 2012
Why Apple is bringing manufacturing back to the United States – December 6, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces plans to manufacture Macs in USA; says TV is ‘area of intense interest’ inside Apple – December 6, 2012

28 Comments

  1. Good idea. Hope labor in the US is affordable so we can get some of those in Europe at affordable costs. To me the MacPro still is the best Mac at all (besides my 15″ Retina MacBook Pro). Last week I bought three of them for my company, some resellers still have the 2010 model at some discount so I could not resist.

  2. It’ll be MacPro because the potential downside will be tiny. If EVERYONE in the world that wanted one and bought one (all 70 of them) and found a problem, that’s only a few of 70 computers that need to be replaced.

    Maybe later on to do serious volume builds on their more popular lines, but for now, only the low volume MacPro would be the only reasonable choice for American production.

  3. I don’t know, it seems like the fact that we’ve already seen some iMacs with the Made In USA stamp, makes it likely that it’s the iMac.

    On the other hand…

    It seems like a Mac Pro would be *easier* to produce in America, and be much higher margin. Anyone who’s ever worked on a Mac Pro versus an iMac, MacBook, or iOS device would definitely agree that the current Mac Pros are very easy to disassemble and put back together.

    Additionally, I’d wonder if the Mac Pro was a higher volume in America than elsewhere, and if the shipping costs of bring them here count in the equation.

    Also favoring the Mac Pro might be a build-to-order issue where orders are sent directly to the plant where the Mac Pros are assembled based on the order and shipped immediately (and more locally without customs).

    Relatively smaller volume makes this better suited for a trial.

    1. One of the reasons the Mac Pro is more popular in the US is that it is a ripoff in other countries. In Australia we pay an absolute premium for a Mac Pro despite being closer to China and our dollar higher than the greenback.
      Sure, volume may have something to do with it but when you order on-line from the Apple Store, they are all coming from the same place.

  4. I think Mac Pro AND, later, Mac mini. Yes, both have lower volume than other Mac models. But they also lack a key component. A built-in LCD display.

    The display component is manufactured in Asia, and it is physically the largest (and probably most fragile) simple component of any Mac with a built-in display. So it makes more sense to keep the manufacturing and assembly locations relatively close geographically, instead of having to ship the LCD to some location in the U.S. first, then ship the completed Mac to world-wide markets (including back to Asia).

    Tim Cook is all about efficiency… 🙂

    1. It had better be, Zeke. Last year I threatened to stamp my foot in frustration if Tim Cook didn’t come through with a refresh of the Mac Pro. Nobody wants that. (Stamped foot, I mean)

      With Apple’s new management team rolling now, I don’t see Ive, Mansfield, or any of the others shunning the Mac Pro or kicking it to the curb. The overall integrity of Apple is at stake, much more than just retaining fan loyalty.

      The article’s evidence for a “made in USA” Mac Pro is persuasive. Even more compelling, Apple’s capital expenditures have expanded to mammoth proportions since 2010, showing a long-term strategic interest in controlling more of the production process*. Owning domestic factories would add to its high vertical integration, an architecture so successful that the other tech titans, even Microsoft, are trying to emulate it.

      “Those jobs are never coming back.” Maybe not, but Apple is preparing new profit centers, perhaps absorbing higher domestic labor costs for a time until the plants are fully automated. The key is to attract enough brilliant engineers to build them.

      *
      http://www.asymco.com/2012/11/07/recapex-the-curious-case-of-apples-2012-and-2013-capital-expenditures/

      1. The only reason I could see for dropping the Mac Pro is if the Mini actually got so pumped up that it filled that niche. It’s getting fairly close now.

        That said, I’d love to see some kind of a Mac Pro/Server product. I doubt that will happen with Apple trying to push us all (kicking and screaming) toward the cloud. Still, I’d dearly love to see a replacement for the defunct server line. We’re currently using two old G5’s on our home network as file/media/backup servers. High capacity HDs are now cheap and easily installed.

        1. I too would love to see a Mac Pro/Server product. Some ten years ago, at my suggestion the Research section of a major Federal office procured an Apple Xserve (dual-G4) and Xraid. Both were manufactured in the US, and both were great boxes. In several years of use we experienced only one software and one hardware issue. The first involved the inability to NFS-mount a multi-terrabyte file system. That was fixed with the next OS update. The second involved a failed power supply, which was replaced on-site under warranty.

  5. I remember Tim Cook in that NBC interview says that all products are made here and just assembled in China because they have a workforce that can mentally comprehend it. If we go by that quote, then I would say its a Mac pro that gets built in the US because I know tons of people who love to build their own computers and its the easier of the macs to build. So, my bet is on the mac pro.

  6. This has the potential of being a gigantic public relations win for Apple, especially if it involves more than mere assembly. Savings from the reduced costs of shipping a large, heavy computer may mostly offset any additional labor costs. In my mind, this is a brilliant move for Apple.

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