Donald Trump’s plan for American-made iPhones would be disastrous

“The Donald Trump stump speech is stunningly repetitive,” Issie Lapowsky writes for Wired. “From the snow-covered stadiums of Manchester, New Hampshire, to the gilded halls of the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, you can bet the Republican frontrunner will deliver the same off-the-cuff, stream-of-consciousness riff about building a wall, crushing ISIS, the art of the deal, The Art of the Deal, and making America great again.”

“But lately, Trump has taken to making another lofty promise: when he’s president, he says, Apple will make its products in the US, not China,” Lapowsky writes. “‘We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,’ he said in January at Liberty University. ‘Apple and all of these great companies will be making their products in the United States, not in China, Vietnam,’ he said at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.”

“This promise has glaring problems beyond the fact Trump’s own companies manufacture thousands of items overseas,” Lapowsky writes. “The bigger problem is this: Forcing Apple to make iPhones in the US would be as logistically impossible as it would be economically disastrous.”

“Trump’s promises if realized, would actually hurt the very people he’s promising to help, experts say. That’s because today, those once dependable jobs on the assembly line have been reduced to low-wage, low-skill commodity labor,” Lapowsky writes. “If Trump — or any of the presidential candidates — really want to help the working class, researchers say, they would be wise to focus less on the types of jobs the US has already lost and more on the industries the US is uniquely poised to create.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The U.S. doesn’t want those kinds of subsistence-level (or worse) assembly jobs. Today, in a global economy, where great wage disparities exist, those type of jobs generally cost more than they are worth as they simply don’t pay enough to allow people to live independently. You want the kind of jobs Apple has already proven to have created in droves.

The ultimate goal is what Steve Jobs always wanted all along: Automated assembly via robotics.

They don’t sleep, they don’t strike or make demands, they don’t jump off buildings or die in dust fires, most of them don’t even need the lights on. They just make what you program them to make, the same way every time, with quality control that no human line can ever match.

“I’m as proud of the factory as I am of the computer.” – Steve Jobs, February 1990

Rush Limbaugh: Apple products create jobs in America – October 18, 2012
How Romney and/or Obama should have answered Candy Crowley’s Apple assembly question – October 17, 2012
Romney and Obama spar over Apple’s Mac, iPad, and iPhone manufacturing jobs – October 17, 2012
Apple, Steve Jobs, Obama, America and a squeezed middle class – January 21, 2012
Apple’s real market value: How many U.S. jobs it creates – November 21, 2011
iOS developer salaries skyrocket – November 9, 2011
How many U.S. jobs has Apple’s iPod created? – July 8, 2011


  1. First, where Apple assembles iPhones is none of little man Donald’s damn business.

    Next, when the market dictates it smart to assemble phones here they will do so.

    The Fart of the Deal leaves skid marks and we can smell his bullshit.

    1. I dislike Trump, but I do understand him, I think.
      You just have to realize that his first statements are pie in the sky. He knows this, he is negotiating. Talking tough so that when he scales back a little the other side of the deal thinks they had a win, when in fact, you met him on his terms which he never originally stated. Upfront he is all bluster and positioning so that the later “compromise” seems like a compromise when it wasn’t. I think that is deceitful, which is one of the reasons I dislike him.

      1. He’s not negotiating. He’s saying what he thinks people want to hear. He’s taking advantage of Americans who are to complacent to bother digging any deeper than sound bites and headlines.

        “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

        1. “false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”

          Very succinctly put. The “it’s OK to be stupid” crowd is easily manipulated into going to the voting booth to vote on the wrong issues for the wrong reasons, and OBTW, voting straight Republican while they’re in there. Then we wind up with state legislatures that come forth with “You wanted stupid? We’ll give you stupid.” Maybe we really do need the corporate overlords to keep elected politicians in line.

  2. The Republican are working hard at creating a two tiered society: the rich educated and the poor semiliterate. By decimating the public school system and offering only nearly skilled jobs, the Republican want to create a new class of slaves based not on colour only but also based on their bias of the month. The poor will never become middle class and the middle class will shrink to take up a position along side the poor.

    1. Just replace ‘Republican’ with ‘Democraps’ and you may be onto something. Liberals run, and have utterly destroyed, education in America. And they have the low test rankings to prove it. Let’s get rid of the DOE and common core, put control of Education back where it belongs, at the State and County levels. Screw seniority and Tenure. Let schools compete, let’s give parents choice and control; schools will then compete to be the best, and students will compete to get into the good schools. Heck we really don’t even need schools. In our history, we have home schooled Presidents and dropouts who changed the World – thank you Steve. Anyways, most of what I have learned, I learned myself. No biggie, we have the Internet, computers, iPads, etc. But we also have a decaying culture. The secular society that liberals have foisted onto the citizens of Europe and America are doing us in. Our culture is going bankrupt, and our economy will follow suit. 20 trillion in the hole is around the corner, with no relief in sight, and a lying’ rich blowhard could become President. Imagine that!

      1. Sure, you can learn stuff on your own, though that sometimes takes some intelligence, but for most, the school system is the fast lane for learning. Finding info on your own typically is for very specialized learning, and it can be excruciatingly slow (because deeply detailed info is harder to find).

      2. Isn’t it interesting how you outline every Republican educational point that has decimated the education system and keep claiming that they will solve the problems that these ‘solutions’ created. Obviously, you have never taught and know little about schooling other that the 8 year experience you had as a youth (three of those years spent in just one grade).

        1. Speak for yourself. I hold three degrees and taught 5 years of college as a program coordinator, so I’ve seen first hand how ill prepared, and poorly motivated, the large majority of recently minted high school graduates come into college as freshmen. By comparison, you have to be blind not to see the effort and self motivation shown by Asian foreign students. Right off the bat; they consistently ranked at the top of my classes. And let’s not talk about the faculty; it’s all about tenure, publishing, and grants (bring in the bacon); teaching? not so much.
          And now you claim that Republicans have decimated the education system? Wow! Who runs the joint? Never taught High School, so I wouldn’t know first hand, but you mean to tell me that all those teacher’s unions are teeming with tea party members and are fully imbued with conservative ideology? Really? Did you really finish High School?

  3. Everything will be fine. Trump will get the NSA, FBI and CiA to form committee to design a new iPhone that will be built in America and will come with a logo emblazoned across the front saying “spooks inside”; only problem, nobody will buy one!!

  4. MDN’s viewpoint is wrong-headed. These jobs are only low-paid because they were exported so that the corporations could make more profits.

    Make iPhones in California where the minimum wage will be $15/hr and the local economy will boom and unemployment will fall.

    You might pay a bit more for your iPhone, or Apple might make a bit less, but the nation will do much better if there are enough well-paid jobs for everyone who wants one.

      1. A $630 iPhone contains about $15 of manufacturing cost, 2%, more or less. If it was all direct labor (it’s not) and the labor cost $1/per hour (it’s more expensive), that would only translate to 15 hours of labor. At $15/hour, that would be 15x$15= $225. About $210 of added cost, at most. Probably less.

        What stops Apple from bringing the assembly process in house in America is that they don’t want the responsibility for that workforce. If the workers at a contract assembly house unionize and go on strike for better pay and working conditions, Apple simply finds a different contract manufacturer. Not so easy if they are actual Apple employees.

        Could Apple run a factory that was so good that the workers would never have a beef that might make them want to unionize? You bet. Would Tim Cook do that? I think he would try. Would some asshat middle manager try to screw over workers to get his bonus? Asshattery abounds in middle management. Better stick with Foxconn.

      1. When transportation costs are a factor, where is important.

        The entire daily production of Apple products can fit on one 747 Freighter and be delivered to its primary market in less than a day, and sold in short order. When a product, like a car, goes onto a ship for transport, it can take a month to reach its primary market. All of the cost of that inventory is tied up for weeks. That is why all major auto brands have plants in the US. Very few Honda cars sold in the US were made in Japan, for example. Most are made in the USA.

    1. Oh, you want to him to deliver actual strategies and supporting tactics for all of his crackpot ‘policies’. Presumably you’d like that to be costed from a fiscal perspective and for there to be an authoritative study of the economic impact.

      Then you’re probably thinking you’d really like to know how half of this stuff could be formed into a legislative agenda that would make it through both chambers in Congress.

      Speaking from the comfort of the British Isles – where we just have ineffectual idiots for politicians as opposed to sociopaths with a whole range of personality disorders -good luck with that. For my part, I’m making sure I have a comfortable chair and a reasonable supply of beer and Pringles for the debates between the two nominees.


    The one thing I hate about Apple (and most tech cos) is that they’re rich pigs that could bring jobs back to America. Yes, it would be better than working at McDonalds. Not everyone has a college degree.

    Damn all US companies for abandoning the American work force. The first recognizable tech company that could make a decent smartphone in the US will get my business, even if it’s $150-$200 more. Who needs an Apple iPhone if it helps China first.


    1. Clueless.

      As I said above, if iPhone factory were located in the USA, and had Americans working in it, the cost of labour (currently approximately $40 per iPhone) would skyrocket to over $1,300 per iPhone.

      And we are ignoring all other cost (coordinating all the resources and suppliers of other components and material, currently also located in China).

      The iPhone made in USA would cost over $2,000. Just like Mac Pro (which starts at $3,000, with components costing $500).

  6. At times I honestly think Trump is just having us all on, trolling the entire US electoral process for shits and giggles. That he’s so massively out in front does show one thing though, how far the GOP has fallen over the past decade.

  7. Well Apple has already figured out how to disassemble iPhone in the U.S. (see LIAM). When it comes to assembly in the U.S., it won’t mean jobs. Not only do we not have the labor force that’s skilled and willing to do it for a price that doesn’t greatly increase the cost of the iPhone, but we don’t have the infrastructure. Those jobs are never coming back. We’re better off thinking about the current jobs (and there are a lot of them) in Cupertino (and the rest of the U.S.), and of course not voting for Drumpf.

  8. This is hardly a “plan” by Trump. He’s appealing to economic nationalism, he’s the only American patriot in the race. The Trump haters are so blinded by hatred that they can’t fathom the idea of a presidential candidate actually wanting to help American workers other than through welfare.

    Hey MDN manufacturing that was paying Americans $15-20/hr wasn’t “subsistence-level” work, it was a “living wage” like so many progs scream about. Now the same jobs are being done for $2/hr in Mexico, corporations reap the difference and don’t have to worry about pesky environmental controls or fringe benefits. This was allowed to happen by rapacious politicians and businessmen who colluded to pass NAFTA and the like.

    1. Equating nationalism with patriotism is cognitive dissonance. You’re making a subjective judgement relevant to specifically your mind’s inner world. They don’t equate out in the real world. They are two separate concepts.

      But thank you for bringing up the crucial concept of “living wage”. That is what we should be discussing. It’s relative to the environment of the worker, USA vs China, etc. I’m personally sick-to-death of all the chatter about ‘minimum wage’. It’s a just another slave wage concept if it doesn’t equate to ‘living wage’. When businesses moan and wail about having to pay a ‘minimum wage’ without reference to a ‘living wage’ they’re simply demanding slave wages. One has to question whether a company should be in business at all if they have to demand paying slave wages. Then that gets into local consumer price demands, etc. and we get into economics, which I superficially cover in comments below.

  9. can’t just force Apple, a law will apply to everyone.

    so all those other stuff from like 90% of the stuff from stores like Wallmart, Bestbuy, Sears etc will cost more.
    for the trolls here, your DELL computer will cost more than a Mac now.

    1) One of the largest growing populations in USA is the elderly with fixed incomes, hundreds of thousands (millions?) barely have enough to survive many living in trailer parks etc, increase the cost of stuff like SHOES and they will be pushed over the brink.

    NOTE: it’s much easier to force companies to build SHOES in USA than phones as besides being more technically complicated (there are hundreds of parts to a phone which requires associated industries like OLED, LED screen manufacturers etc) high tech is also TIED down with PATENTS. contract manufacturers like Samsung file thousands of patents a year on things like processor stamping, glass etc. Before you can build in USA you need to get those patents.

    2) also if you’re working now in some job like teacher, dental assistant etc your pay is FIXED, can you afford it if stuff goes up in price substantially?

    3) if USA puts TRADE BARRIERS SO WILL OTHER COUNTRIES. BARRIERS GO BOTH WAYS. So if europe , Asia decides to TAX or BAN USA stuff the country will go down the toilet. They would put barriers to Ford cars, CORN FLAKES, DISNEY MOVIES, shit.. they will ban Superman and France would love to kick out MCDONALDS ! ….

    1. posted this before:

      don’t really want to discuss the broader implications as the topic is vast so I’ll just touch on a couple of APPLE things (without much comment as I don’t want a flame war about trade)…

      for many years MANY people had screamed at Apple for not building stuff in USA. I debated with some on forums, so many told me THEY WOULD WILLINGLY BUY EVEN IF THEY COST MORE, EVEN IF IT COST HUNDREDS MORE IF IT WERE MADE IN USA..

      then you have Apple build the Mac Pro in USA … when it was launched universally (from the PC community, the the tech press, the normal press) panned it for ‘BEING EXPENSIVE’. I’ve read dozens of articles from PC magazines ‘comparing specs’ and ‘cost’ (to PCs made in China). NOBODY EVEN USA MAGAZINES SAID BUY APPLE MAC PRO BECAUSE IT’S MADE IN USA– it’s “Worth Paying More for USA !” . NOT ONE POLITICIAN ASKED THE VOTERS IN HIS AREA TO SUPPORT MAC PRO …

      (for the TROLL today who said he was willing to buy a USA made phone did you buy a Mac Pro ? )

      (how many times have you heard politicians bash apple over taxes yet have you heard them tell people to BUY apple stuff cause they are trying to bring manufacturing back to USA?)

      NOTE: Jobs built NEXT machines in USA. Even the GOVERNMENT wouldn’t buy NEXT computers saying they were too expensive…

      STEVE JOBS when he returned to Apple HIRED TIM COOK who used to work for COMPAQ AND IBM (yes TC learnt his trade from THOSE guys!) to straighten out Apple’s supply chain issues and build up it’s overseas connections . In the past people complained that Apple stuff cost so much more BUT TODAY IPHONES (due to T.C’s work) cost about the SAME as phones in the same category (high end).

      2) Sapphire Factory Fiasco.

      Go and read the articles about big USA manufactures in China, read how they say Chinese contractors will bend over backwards for them. Want an emergency order, they will get triple shifts overnight, a guy will blow a whistle to wake workers up and they will jog to the assembly lines…
      One USA company was shocked the Chinese could set up a football field sized factory from ground up in a couple of weeks..

      USA sapphire factory: years banging around with rounds of funding going to hundreds of millions from Apple, lawsuits, counter lawsuits, missed deadlines, executives who lied about product quality and then scampered with funding in their pockets etc and Apple didn’t get one pound of sapphire from the USA factory.

      Wallstreet Journal on the Sapphire factory:

      “GT hired hundreds of workers with little oversight; some bored employees were paid overtime to sweep floors repeatedly, while others played hooky.”

      (I’m not bashing USA manufacturing in general — there ARE SUCCESS stories — but just commenting on Apple’s experience, you read the facts above and decide on your own, )

      3) Finally for those POLITICIANS who say bring back USA manufacturing why don’t they SET UP CONTRACT MANUFACTURING IN USA THEMSELVES.
      Donald is a billionaire , he can get partners, leverage funding, he should SHOW US how it can be done. He doesn’t even have to design phones just get the blueprints from the tech companies who want them built.

      All he has to do is find thousands of American workers who are willing to stick THE SAME tiny pieces to exacting standards for 8 hours a day for about minimum wage who are willing to work shifts if needed, and hire hundreds of specialized toolmakers (which Jobs said few can be found in USA anymore compared to the thousands overseas) plus get HUNDREDS OF SUPPORT INDUSTRIES set up a (for making hundreds of types of fasteners, screws, connectors , processors, sensors, power units, specialized glass etc etc ) and GET THE PATENTS FOR THEM (Samsung a contract manufacturer says it files thousands of manufacturing patents for things like Glass a year)
      Of course you will ALSO need to get contracts from many companies beside Apple to hire you because after PEAK production during launch there are slow months that need to be filled (FEEDING a manufacturing line with thousands of workers that need to be paid is an interesting task… ) and for every different product YOU HAVE TO RETOOL…. ETC. .

      GO ON BIG MOUTH POLITICIANS .. show us it can be done.

      1. to be clear I’m NOT arguing for FREE TRADE with NO restrictions, on the other hand SIMPLISTIC bombastic plans like Trumps are silly.
        Extremists stand on both sides is in my opinion not good.

        there has to be reasoned balanced approach.

        One example you want Apple to invest more in USA like Mac Pro factories then reduce the tax rate for bringing back OVERSEAS profits (where in many cases they already paid local overseas taxes). USA has one of the highest reparation rates around . btw Apple is the largest USA taxpayer and pays all taxes on profits made in USA in USA.

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