Will Apple spark a U.S. manufacturing renaissance?

“Today the only American-made Mac is the kind you buy under Golden Arches and eat. America’s other well-known Mac, Apple’s Mac computer, is manufactured in China (like all other Apple products),” Gary P. Pisano writes for The Harvard Business Review. “That’s about to change. Apple announced last week that it will invest $100 million to make Macs (through third parties) in the U.S. This move makes strategic sense for Apple and is potentially important for the U.S. economy longer term.”

“It would be easy to dismiss Apple’s move as a pure publicity or political play. After all, Apple is often criticized for being the ultimate “designed in America, made in China” company — even though many other companies follow the same strategy,” Pisano writes. “But there are other good reasons for Apple to source some products from the U.S.”

• Diversify Its Sourcing Footprint
• Move Manufacturing Closer to R&D

Pisano writes, “Apple’s move is a spark that could help rebuild the electronics industrial commons.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Why Apple is bringing manufacturing back to the United States – December 6, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s pledge to make Macs in the U.S. seen adding 200 jobs – December 8, 2012
Apple’s ‘Made in USA’ computer likely to be Mac Pro – December 8, 2012
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

23 Comments

  1. If a U.S manufacturing renaissance does indeed take place over the next few years, it wont be because Apple inc. sparked it. It will be because they are going to where the puck will be then, whilst the rest of the tech pack are scrapping for an illusive puck that is already out of the arena.
    When the pack of tech based industries realize the puck has gone, they will fire up their copiers and start copying Apple inc. Then you will be able to say that Apple inc didn’t just spark a renaissance, they fanned the flames to a frothy height!

  2. I remember the tim when we look at any product to say “Made in the USA” or “made in japan” in order to be a quality product and we rejected all products saying “made in china”.
    Let’s hope apple bring the USA to its former glory.

          1. LOL! Isn’t that still the reality today? I’d love nothing more than a Porche 959 and a case of Becks right now. Oh, and you might as well throw in a few Leicas for good measure. I couldn’t even begin to pay for any of this, but one can dream eh?

            Go Apple!

  3. Apple may not necessarily be bringing back manufacturing to the USA for altruistic reasons (although the publicity can’t hurt). They could also be hedging their bets, as China may be running into considerable difficulties in the coming years to keep their huge supply chain in operation (competing demand for less available oil to power their plants, and especially for transporting goods to the USA). Keeping manufacturing “local” reduces supply chain problems like that (i.e., being able to make deliveries on time).

  4. Looks like Apple is being charitable to the poor retards who buy Android devices and will provide them with more lucrative jobs on manual assembly lines. Perhaps they will then be able to buy the real things instead of the fake products pumped out of photocopiers. Then again, given their choice of device, they may not even be qualified for menial work at Apple’s factories.

    You have to feel sorry for these people.

  5. Yes, this will mean alot. 200 jobs and Apple is investing about what they make in 1 week of profit. Huge.

    How bout this, the American factory workers are not needed anymore. They have been replaced by cheaper labor and robots who have no retirement, pension or health benefits and work 16 to 24 hours a day. Get off unemployment and welfare. Retrain and get back to work.

    Sorry the elections over and now you’ve been told the truth.

    M

    1. Mike, Mike, Mike. Why do you want to introduce that little concept called reality into the discussion of US employment. You don’t seem to understand that the government will take care of everyone.

      Seriously, you did take the words out of my mouth. 200 jobs doesn’t mean squat, but Apple is doing a good thing in any case.

      1. Sure, whatever. I’ll bet it will mean a hell of a lot more than ‘squat’ to any single one of the 200 employed there.

        If 200 more companies would or could follow Apples lead and create 200 new ‘don’t mean squat’ jobs instead of finding ways to outsource or lay off employees we would all benefit.

    2. You are missing the point in the midst of your sarcasm, Mike. New trends often start very slowly before a period of rapid growth. Consider sales of the iPhone in 2007. Then follow that trend for five years.

      With manufacturing/assembly continuing to evolve towards full automation using advanced robotics, the cost of “manual labor” in manufacturing become far less critical. That opens up the door for high value-added manufacturing processes to return to the U.S. Many of the new jobs that will be created over the next couple of decades will be associated with designing, testing, maintaining, and programming robots. In the not too distant future, you will be able to go from product design to prototype and volume manufacturing in days, or even hours. The futuristic stuff in Ironman will become reality.

      I have been saying this for years, and current trends indicate that my conclusions are valid. Just a year or so ago, Foxconn announced plans to expand its fleet of robots from tens of thousands to one million over the next few years. Even in China, cheap labor is not enough.

      1. Steve Jobs believed this and Tim Cook is moving toward it. Robotics is the key to eliminating slave labor (which has to include rote assembly). Apple is part of what will be seen in the distant future as a social movement, eliminating large manual labor forces. Let’s hope that doesn’t end by displacing them into another welfare class. No matter what happens, though, there’s a lot to like in the “made in USA” movement. I hate to say it, but the Asians are starting to leer a little too suggestively.

        1. There is no way to avoid the fact that robots will take over manufacturing… What America needs to get through their heads is that there will be no need and no work for the many millions of the population …. It will not be “welfare” .., it will be … We have reached the point where we just don’t need everybody working… So we need tiered system where basics a covered and if you want more you get the education needed to achieve it….it is the only way to sustain our population versus lessening need for “workers”…. This slave wage model we use now is unsustainable and outmoded …. Not to change will lead to massive uprisings and dismantling of the entire system…. Time to start changing attitudes based on the reality of the changes tech will be bringing with robotics to EVERY industry… Best not be to hard headed towards change lest you find your self one of those new would be “welfare” recipients with no state sponsored support.

        2. Robots far more importantly will not leak new products in the pipeline, they will not fire up their copiers or digital cameras and will not insert trojans into the EFI during the assembly process. Finally, they will not require a steep learning curve in the production process that is holding up the iPad, iPad mini & iPhone 5. Apple will shunt the so-called slave labour force into the production of basic non-skilled products.

    3. Manufacturing has a multiplier effect (unlike most government spending). Jobs to construct the plant. Jobs to provide infrastructure for the plant. Jobs for those feeding the people working at the plant. Jobs for those providing supplies and energy for the plant.

      And what of the robots for this highly automated plants. Maybe a few more of them will built in the US, rather than Germany, Japan or China. And suppliers often migrate to the point of assembly. So ultimately more than the SoC or CPU will be made in the US.

  6. “This move (mfg in USA) makes strategic sense for Apple and is potentially important for the U.S. economy longer term.” Apple is late to the game in the US

    Other companies have been ramping up advanced mfg techniques for more than a decade as seen in the mfg. trade magazines.

    Apple is just seeing a point where advanced mfg techniques & robots for assembly make sense for one of its products here in the US.

  7. Problem with all the robots will build everything, all we need is a few technical people to maintain and program them, is the same problem we have now with the 1 or 10% grabbing all the profits a company makes. If the majority have no jobs\money, who is going to buy this stuff? At some point there wont be any credit left and the hole thing collapses. The greedy executives and top earners better realize this soon and start sharing the wealth that their employees are providing them or all their money wont buy them a safe place to live.

  8. The lead sentence is incorrect. The “original” Macs are made by McIntosh Laboratory of Binghamton, NY. They are long-established audiophile high fidelity instruments coveted by the audio cognoscenti world-wide. The “Macs” are made of the highest levels of materials and workmanship, ensuring highest levels of performance and longevity. I have Macs that perform flawlessly that are 42 years old. Manufacturing can and should be done in this country. Kudos to Tim Cook and other CEOs for taking the first steps to returning “Made in America” as proud labels on quality products sold here and abroad.

  9. Just wait. Apple will somehow circumnavigate labor laws and import Chinese workers from Foxconn to use in American sweatshops here in the states. It’s probably in the 900’s in ObamaCare.

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