Can President Trump bring Apple iPhone factories back to America?

“As President Donald Trump pushes U.S. companies to make more products in the U.S., firms like ETWater and Tesla, which rely heavily on automation, illustrate that it can be done in some industries,” Marisa Kendall writes for The Mercury News. “Since winning the election, Trump has doubled down on his campaign promise to tax companies that make products overseas and ship them to the U.S., meeting with tech and auto executives last week to talk tariffs. Last week, the White House announced a new Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, which will tap tech leaders, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell. Trump has also promised to ease regulations in the U.S. as an incentive for companies to bring production here.”

“‘The question everyone seems to be asking is: Will the iPhones come back?’ said Andy Tsay, a business professor at Santa Clara University who specializes in global manufacturing,” Kendall writes. “Trump has pressured Apple CEO Tim Cook to make iPhones here, but the smartphone manufacturing industry already is entrenched in China.

U.S. President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump
Everything from the companies that make smartphone components to the technicians who repair the factory machines is there, Tsay said, and moving that massive ecosystem to the U.S. would be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Some of that cost would be passed on to consumers. The price of a $749 iPhone 6s, for example, would increase between $30 and $40 if Apple assembled the product closer to its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, according to a report by the MIT Technology Review. If the phone’s components were also made in the U.S., the price likely would go up by $100.”

“Taiwanese Foxconn, which makes iPhones and other electronics, is reportedly considering spending more than $7 billion to open a display-making plant in the U.S.,” Kendall writes. “Chinese factories also tend to be less productive, while U.S. plants rely more on automation and require fewer human workers. At Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., factory, for example, which moved into an old Toyota plant in 2010, a combination of robots and skilled technicians and engineers replaced many of the blue-collar labourers who used to build Toyotas there. Tesla says it employs more than 6,000 people at the factory, including former workers who were retrained.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

The robots will come eventually. There are too many benefits. They don’t get tired. They don’t make mistakes. They don’t jump off roofs. They don’t have tubs o’ lard lying about them in one-fat-ass plays. Etc. — MacDailyNews, December 5, 2014

Foxconn has 10 lights-out production lines, aims to fully automate entire factories – December 30, 2016
Apple iPhone production in the actually straightforward and not expensive – November 24, 2016
President-elect Trump tells Apple CEO Tim Cook that he’d like to see Apple make products in the U.S. – November 23, 2016
Could President Trump be the catalyst for an all-American iPhone? – November 18, 2016
Apple could make iPhones in the U.S.A. under President Trump, sources say – November 17, 2016
President Trump’s Made-in-America hurdle: Asia – November 16, 2016
Apple assembler Foxconn now has 40,000 ‘Foxbot’ robots working at factories in China – October 5, 2016
Apple supplier Foxconn replaces 60,000 factory workers with robots – May 25, 2016
Foxconn robots better, but still not precise enough to assemble Apple iPhones – December 5, 2014
Foxconn CEO disappointed with current-gen iPhone-assembling robots; next-gen ‘Foxbots’ in the works – September 22, 2014
Foxconn to deploy ‘Foxbot’ robots for iPhone assembly – July 7, 2014
Why Foxconn’s iPhone robots could create American jobs – February 2, 2014
Apple dives deeper into designing and inventing robots, other manufacturing tech – November 22, 2013
Robots made Apple switch to ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ Macs – December 11, 2012
Foxconn’s 2012 plan: More robots, no layoffs, zero suicides, new factories – November 22, 2011
Foxconn to replace some workers with 1 million robots within 3 years – July 31, 2011


        1. Knock Knock! KNOCK!!! ????? Hey!! Its ME! Dave!! ……………Knock Knock Knock!!!! ……???? DAVE!!!!!!????? Dave’s NOT HERE!!!!….. NO! its ME! DAVE!!!! ……….DAVE!!!!…. Dave IS NOT HERE!!!

          Trump THIS .!.. Dave.

          NO SOUP FOR YOU. If you don’t like it… GTFO of America & move to China. It is that simple. Don’t let the door kick you in the a$$.

      1. Yep. I’ve been a regular, frequent visitor, and occasional poster at MDN for at least 15 years, but the overt Right Wing political tone is driving me away. I find myself visiting other sites like 9to5mac, AppleInsider, cultofmac, etc., instead.

          1. And jfblagden kindly demonstrates why it is so difficult to connect with the radical conservatives on this forum. Everyone who dares to disagree is an “isolated elitist liberal.” Only conservatives are down-to-earth, even as they are led by bloviating billionaire egomaniacs with young Russian model trophy wives.

            1. • Melania Trump is 46, so she is certainly middle-aged, not “young.”
              • Melania Trump is from Slovenia, not Russia
              • Bloviating means “talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way.” President Trump is doing exactly what he promised he would do, that is hardly “inflated or empty.”

              Melvin bats .000 on another one of his hackneyed, inaccurate screed du jour.

            2. I didn’t mean it like that. I realize that there are elitists and down-to-earth people on each side. I just mean that all the famous or at least semi-famous (ATP) liberals are isolated from the normal American experience. Trump might be elitist, but he also knows what the average Joe has been going through for the past eight years. And because he’s a businessman, he actually knows what needs to be done to bring back jobs, something a career politician wouldn’t know how to do.

        1. Same here. The insistence of referring to him as “President Trump” instead of just Trump is overdone and blatant. Makes me want to gag — and read my Mac news elsewhere.

        2. The so called right wing political tone has as much right to be here as the so called left wing political tone.

          If you are not for all voices being heard on MDN, then don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

          Adios … 🔫🐎🌵🌞

          1. Well you know better Goeb 😉 …. one side is correct 95% of the time …and in the remaining 5% of the time ..the other side is wrong.

            Love this line:
            Progressive – A person who believes in an individual’s views, rights, and opinions… long as it is the same as theirs.

            Ill say again…. eveyone needs to take a chill pill… and relax a bit…. and stop contributing to the division in this country. ..
            For a change.. how about helping heal the wounds of division. … which have been escalating in the recent years….

          2. You conservative guys are all full of crap. You guys have been spewing the politicrap on this forum for many years. You have instigated the vast majority of the political diatribe on this forum. Yes, your penchant for political rants has triggered a backlash from the other side, but it is impossible to watch you spew crap and lies without occasionally responding.

            If MDN and the political right stop instigating political wars on this forum, then I am highly confident that the amount of political discourse will drop way down. Let’s see if you can do it…

            Hey left-wingers…please stop responding to the political discussions on this forum for the next month and absolutely refrain from initiating any political posts. Let us see if the conservatives on this forum can control themselves.

            As for us moderates, we won’t have any political radicalism to moderate, so you won’t hear from us, either.

            1. “You conservative guys are all full of crap.”

              ALL? I don’t think so. Stereotype much?

              Truth be told I’m a lifelong independent and always vote for members of both parties, every election, for decades.

              I read everyone’s good and bad crap and it all has its place … aaahhhh, that would be tolerance, Melvin. ✌️

        3. Well said, Arnold.

          MDN takes used to be insightful and comedically snarky. That’s gone.

          Posts used to mostly be interesting and about Apple. (And thanks to many for all those great, fact-based, logical posts.) That’s gone, swamped in a sea of crap.

          What’s left is mostly a pot of roiling hatred.

          So for those left who want to read about Apple, I’d like to invite you to join me in leaving. There are much better places to go. Let’s leave the pissy, pathetical hate-mongers to talk to each other… and to leave MDN to “enjoy” the fruits of what they have let this become.

          I’ll be here just long enough to post this a few times or until MDN blocks me. Then I’ll be gone. I hope many will join me.

          1. Ah, the snowflakes are melting away. ❄️💦

            Sorry to read you have had your way with Obama for eight years. But now the shoe is on the other foot and you can’t handle it.

            I’ve read the same 🐂💩 from lots of perennial posters and the idle threats aside, they are still here.

            Whatever, adios … 🔫🐎🌵🌞

    1. True and not only that, but just like agent orange himself, they’re in denial to the fact that manufacturing at home with robots doesn’t create any jobs and border tariffs make prices go up to a jobless, world shunned Amerika, oh I forgot agent orange is a bankrupcy specialist ;-

    1. I’m not sure why there is all this fixation on building automated factories in America that will employ hardly anyone. If it were a matter of providing jobs for Americans, perhaps, but that isn’t what would happen. It’s not just that the workers for less-automated plants would be too expensive. It’s that there simply aren’t enough available who would be willing to relocate to the factory sites.

      For decades, the government has defined “full employment” as having an unemployment rate no higher than 4.5%. If the unemployment rate gets any lower, it is regarded as inflationary and the Federal Reserve System and Government take immediate steps to cool the economy (which raises the unemployment rate).

      The current rate is 4.7%, so there isn’t much room for improvement without putting pressure on prices that will cut real wages for everybody. Inflation will only be aggrieved if the foreign-assembled items on the market like iPhones are replaced with more expensive domestic models.

      Yes, there are pockets where unemployment is much higher, but only because the people who were displaced by automation and outsourcing have chosen to remain in place, rather than moving to where the new jobs are. They were glad to hear a presidential candidate promise to bring all the old jobs in mining and manufacturing back to their depressed home towns. It was never going to happen.

      1. Thank you for posting this. I’ve made this argument for such a long time I feel like I’ve been hitting my head against a wall. I can’t understand why people refuse to accept re training, and that their perception of the economy is either completely incorrect or misinformed. Yes, jobs have shifted into other sectors, but just by ticking down to 4.5% we’d have another 2.5 million jobs matched with the current growth rate of the economy. If it’s growing faster, the job count goes up, but since the churn is high in manual and seasonal employment, the percentage will still stay about the same.

        The jobs we had in 1950 aren’t coming back, they’ve been leaving for 40 years. The main culprit is automation, why hire 10,000 people when you can buy 200 robots with 30 techs to service them and make specialty component designs? I blame education, and the inability of our media to cover real issues. I think everyone needs to have a free economics class and basic civics to learn how the government works. And what all the departments actually do. Then they have to understand that social security and Medicare are government programs that they rely on, and the far right wants to get rid of… why people vote against their own best interests boggles my mind, it seems like logic isn’t the way they think? I don’t get it.

        1. I think governments and industries have a roll to play here too. There needs to be a jobs czar who could help workers transition into more relevant professions. For example, most truck drivers will be replaced within 5-10 years because of autonomous driving. Those 2.5M (U.S.) drivers should begin retraining for a new profession in the next two years. They should be informed their current jobs will be obsolete, take a test to see where they will be useful in a few years, and begin training.

          Every industry should be reviewed and plans should be devised to retrain workers. It will cost much less to have workers retrained and placed into new jobs than it will be to have job losers rely on social services, become addicted to drugs, or commit suicide.

  1. Who wants crappy American workers making my iPhone for 50% more cost. Oh yea, Trumpsters. It’s too bad they won’t be able to afford them with all the extra money they’re going to have to spend on health care and water purification.

      1. Too bad neither of bears any relationship to the truth, but you already know that Botty. As usual, you’re just spewing he propaganda looking for dumb fish to bite your hook.

        I do have admiration for how well you play these clowns on both sides. For those on your side, you are like the pied piper. They fall in line and repeat what you say, but the problem is they rarely repeat it properly and on point. You embolden them with the inflammatory crap to the point where they become foolish and moronic which is probably exactly the way you view them.

        The other side is equally as dumb. They uselessly attempt to over power/engage you and within a sentence or two they are stuttering and end up validating their membership in the league of idiots. I haven’t seen/read one of them on here that could hold their own in a legitimate exchange of ideas matter the topic. They take an emotional stake their arguments which dooms them to failure.

        Both groups make bad businessmen and horrible leaders. There reliability as followers is also questionable.

    1. Wow. So many things — where should I start?

      1. “…crappy American workers…”. Really? All American workers? Would you like Apple to import Chinese workers to the U.S.?
      2. “…50% more cost…”. An iPhone 7 costs $749. The article states that, at most, the price increase would amount to $100. How is that “50% more”?
      3. Your statements about health care and water costs are pure soeculation on your part. Show me a fact to back this up.
      4. Your MDN name is howaboutanewton. Newton was the OS that ran on an Apple device called MessagePad, retard.

      The executive summary:
      1. FAIL
      2. FAIL
      3. FAIL
      4. FAIL

    2. “Crappy American workers”?! <–That's Idiotic. US workers continue to be the hardest working, most efficient in the world.


      1) Increasingly and deliberately crap education in the USA, (Notice who the Trump wants to head the US Education Dept. if you don’t believe me), leading to a constant lack of qualified workers and ignorant voters.

      2) Wage and benefits downward pressure alongside product cost downward pressure. That’s not going away as long as incredibly cheaper labor is available elsewhere in the ‘New World Order’.

      3) The fact that mankind has been wrecking the environment and therefore human survivability on miracle planet Earth, our only home. Countries where they don’t (for now) care what damage is done will attract dirty manufacturing facilities. China continues to be destroying its own water, land and air for the sake of sucking in money from the rest of the world for its military ambitions. But if you pay attention, you’ll see that China is FAR smarter about the future than the USA as they are much more swiftly adopting renewable energy resources.

      4) Unhealthy employees tend to die.

      5) Impure water tends to make employees unhealthy. See #4.


  2. How do you bring back something that was never here? Every iPhone model has been built overseas.

    I would love to see Apple bring iPhone manufacturing to the United States, if only to supply the North American market.

    1. If Apple wants to manufacture iPhone made in USA, sure it can with special editions, but consumers have to pay a bit more extra for it. Apple builds iMac in Texas, sure does it can build iPhone as well.

    2. Seems to me with billions in the bank you could set up iPhone manufacturing facilities in many countries to mostly service the “local” but big markets. It would require designing the manufacturing process to be transportable like a traveling circus and more robots of course. It may not do that much for local economies but it’d look better on paper for politicians.

  3. Apple don’t need to build factories here. Foxconn or Pegatron need to. These guys know how to run factories – Apple does not and that why they outsourced it. Apple will all their cash can support it.
    The Tesla factory is 8 miles from where I live. It’s great that they are building here in California. However, they are still running at a loss and they have a massive backlog of orders. That used to be Apple in 1997 before Jobs took back the reins and brought in Cook.
    I think Tesla is fantastic for what it is trying to achieve but it needs to fix its productivity issues.
    The other issue is whether there are enough skilled workers to do the job that high end production requires. Since the education system in failing in the US, maybe on the job training will come back into fashion.

    1. I agree with most of what you say, except “Apple with all their cash can support it.” I can’t see how that differs from “We should tax the rich into poverty because they can afford it,” or “I steal from banks because that is where the money is.”

      No conservative Republican I know supports the notion that the US Government should be requiring American businesses to spend their private capital to fulfill the party’s political promises. Forcing private persons and companies to do things that they do not feel to be in their own best interest is the essence of anti-capitalism.

      True conservatives wonder what happened to Reagan’s axiom “Government is not the solution to the problem. It IS the problem.”

      1. Apple in the last 10 years or so has made plenty of investments in companies so that they can get production in place for key components. The result is better supply and first in line service often at a cheaper cost because the manufacturer owes Apple. That is good business and a great example of companies investing in infrastructure to meet their goals. Why does that infrastructure have to limited to Apple internal organization when a clear need is to get their suppliers up to speed.
        I don’t know why you brought politics into it. But since you brought it up, what was the position of conservative republicans during the financial crisis of 2007/08. Wasn’t that bailout made during a republican presidency.
        Mark my words, Trump’s plans to reverse Dodd-Frank will create another credit crisis due to the uncontrolled greed of the financial markets.

  4. Could you imagine how MacDaily News would have reacted if President Obama strong-armed Apple like Trump is attempting with American industry? MDN would have hooked up with his buddy Rush Limbaugh and hit the streets in protest.

    Interesting how it’s suddenly “President” Trump–MDN never afforded President Obama that respect, I wonder why (we won’t mention skin color…).

    1. ….and yet you did mention color because you have nothing else to go on.

      Maybe you forgot how President Obama took over GM and screwed many investors?

      Maybe you forgot how President Obama took over the medical business and screwed over most Americans?

      Maybe you forgot how President Obama shut down offshore oil drilling and screwed the nation with oil prices?

      Maybe you forgot how President Obama made coal fired electricity near impossible and raised energy prices?

      These are all off the top of my head.

      I know you have reasons you were told all this was necessary so he could do it with the left’s blessing, but Trump has done nothing anywhere close to the shit Obama did.

      1. Must you continue your inane dribble that bears no resemblance to the truth? Not a single thing you have said is correct nor did any of the results you allude to actually happen. Your comment is so pathetic and factually incorrect it doesn’t warrant anything other than replies focused on your stupidity and delusional rants.

        If your are trying to emulate Botty or wanting to be on his side, your audition is a miserable failure.


          If you consider markets, futures and utility planning you’ll see why the coal issue will cause a rise in energy cost whereas had he let the market decide and allowed more lands for fracking then cleaner gas would’ve naturally (no pun) been the choice.
          Also, offshore drilling is costlier than on land but since they make it so complicated with regulations (not just for safety) then oil companies look to the sea.

          1. I agree with you. If the EPA had not been restricting fracking and the Interior Department had not been limiting drilling on public lands, natural gas would be far cheaper than it already is. One might argue, as the former Administration did, that the higher prices were worth the added protection.

            However, what is inarguable is that lower gas prices would have destroyed whatever is left of the American coal industry that Mr. Trump has vowed to restore.

    2. Wow. So another liberal is telling everyone who ever disagreed with any of Obama’s policies or iniatives that s/he is a racist? Examine your thought process.

      Those kind of disrespectful, broad-based, and inflammatory statements are what helped Trump get elected (by stirring up people who were sickened by being accused of something untrue).

      And no, I did not vote for Trump (or Clinton).

            1. In a time of universal deceit, every one is lying.

              So… in that, or any other time, we’d all do well to emulate the Founding Fathers.

              Trust no one… and limit government. Regardless of who’s running it, the State is not your friend.

  5. As MDN shifts its emphasis from covering Apple and Mac to promoting conservative politics I find that I’m checking in on MDN less and less. There are lots of places devoted to political news and opinion, but not so many covering Apple news. I used to enjoy MDN for its insight into Apple products and services, but now I’m getting that from other sites that can do it without the political diatribe. I don’t begrudge MDN having a political opinion, but I’d prefer it if another site was created devoted to the political leanings of the editor and leave MDN to cover Apple products and services.

    1. I also visit less regularly and will likely give a lot of mirth to botvinnik by leaving the site altogether. Both botvinnik and MDN have never convinced a single person to join their side with their vitriol but that doesn’t stop them.

    2. I totally agree. This site was never a rose bed of consensus and mutual admiration (and nor should it be), but I do remember a time when the emphasis was on Macs and other Apple products, the threads were interesting, peppered with witty remarks and puns, and most posters were able debate issues reasonable politely. I don’t oppose straying off-topic on principle. The longest MDN thread I ever posted in (it ran for 9 pages) centred around the definition of art and music and was mostly a good-humoured affair.

      But the tenor of the site has definitely changed. It now oozes rancour. It’s MDN’s site, so they can run it as they like, and that includes promoting right wing ideology. They’ve obviously made the decision that the clicks (the political threads are almost always the longest) are worth the self-poisoning of an ostensibly Mac-oriented site. But I can’t help but wonder if there’ll come a tipping point where MDN becomes better known for right wing diatribes than Mac news.

  6. Those saying MDA is conservative leaning commenters….

    Sorry you don’t like it. We had to listen to ALL your BS politics through our daily lives with liberal group think In schools, by 95% of the media, stupid @ss policies that made zero sense other then making “Snowflake” liberals happy in life. Grow up you little mindless snowflakes and start chewing someone elses point of view, “for once” Guess what…….. other people want to rule the country totally different then your dump@ss way. Hold on for the ride, just like we did and had too. With 99.9% less crying and whining and destroying everything. But then again YOU are “The Children of The Left” and you do have to act like 6 year olds don’t you.

    1. You really are an asshole without the slightest bit of critical thinking skills.

      MDA is not pushing conservative leaning commenters, but it is trolling both sides to get clicks and you all are being played. If you are so brilliant and so superior how come you have fallen right into the trap without even a tiny statement that you know what MDN is actually doing? I’ll tell you why – because you are too stupid to understand it business, just business. They would talk about shit on rye with mayo if they thought it would get morons like you to click and click and click.

      Don’t bother ranting and raving at me because you have no idea where I stand on anything related to the political environment. By the time you get to this sentence, if you have even a modicum of intelligence, you should understand what I am talking about is my revulsion for stupidity as amply demonstrated by you.

      1. Some things I wonder about…those who hate haters, doesn’t that make them haters too? And why do haters hate snowflakes? Isn’t snowflake a politically-correct euphemism for libtard?

          1. Why do winners continue to insult losers? Don’t they have better, more noble things to do, like lead us into the future? Don’t they realise that insults undermine that kind of leadership? Is it perhaps just a nasty personal habit that they could never shed, and now that they have power they just don’t see any need to become nicer? The eternal human condition troubles me.

  7. @Jpen,

    Guess what ……..quit whining you “snowflake” and DON’T click on a political post header. Then you will NOT see but a word or two of politics. Your little “snowflake” life will go on as it has with almost everything being “liberal based” with zero tolerance for another point of view other then “your little “snowflake world”. The people who preach tolerance @ fricken “ad nauseum” are the MOST intolerant.

  8. The exportation of manufacturing also exports pollution, and the reverse is true; Importing manufacturing imports pollution.

    This poses a moral dilemma to those with an egalitarian moral conscience.

    So a question remains, does the 1st World export pollution to the 3rd World or does it keep it within its own baorders? A related question is, which World is better at handling the 1st World’s pollution in an ethical and moral way that is least disrupting to the environment?

  9. In their headlines, MDN never referred to Obama as “President Obama,” just “Obama.” But all of their references to Trump are “President Trump.”

    Do they see their immature bias… do they care?

  10. Trump’s real problem is with capitalism and the dynamic disruption it inevitably produces. Trump is actually akin to a communist dictator, who wants full authority, who wants to control all production, rather than let the free markets decide.

    This is consistent with his never-ending admiration of Russia and his Russia first policies.

    1. Trump has been compared to Mussolini as well. Politics aside, I see a resemblance in terms of the strong-man appeal to the masses, Ordinary people are uncritical of leaders whose charismatic promises of justice to the downtrodden are desperately believed, right up until the very end, when they hang him from a lamp post. I don’t believe it will come to that, being a desperate believer myself. Just don’t touch the Bill of Rights, that’s all I ask.

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