President Trump’s vision of massive U.S. Apple iPhone assembly hinges on robotics

“President Trump has visions of a massive Apple factory opening in the U.S. to churn out the latest iPhone,” Jed Graham reports for Investor’s Business Daily. “The idea is not completely far-fetched, but one thing seems clear: If it happens, most of the new jobs will go to robots.”

“Even in lower-cost China, Foxconn, which assembles the iPhone there, reportedly replaced 60,000 workers with robots at one facility. That’s more than half the facility’s workforce. Foxconn says it is adding 10,000 ‘Foxbots’ per year,” Graham reports. “If China must shrink its costs with a massive deployment of robots, U.S.-based manufacturers that pay much higher wages and benefits will face the same pressures.”

“A 2015 study by Boston Consulting Group found that an automotive industry welder earned about $25 an hour, including benefits, while a robot could do the job for $8 an hour, including installation, maintenance and operating costs. The gap is expected to widen sharply as technology improves,” Graham reports.

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
“In a postelection interview, The New York Times asked Trump whether he was worried that companies will keep their factories in the U.S. but automate their workers out of jobs. ‘They will, and we’ll make the robots too,’ Trump said. He added: ‘Right now we don’t make the robots. We don’t make anything. But we’re going to. I mean, look, robotics is becoming very big and we’re going to do that.'”

Graham reports, “Trump is more right than wrong about the U.S. ceding an opportunity, writes Frank Tobe, publisher of the Robot Report. ‘Two-thirds of the robotics industry and 100% of industrial robots are manufactured outside of the U.S. by non-U.S. companies.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As per Foxbots, we’d much prefer Fembots!

The robots will come eventually. There are too many benefits. They don’t get tired. They don’t make mistakes. — MacDailyNews, December 5, 2014

Virginia becomes first U.S. state to legalize delivery robots – March 2, 2017
Chinese factory replaces 90% of human workers with robots; production rises by 250%, defects drop by 80% – February 7, 2017
Can President Trump bring Apple iPhone factories back to America? – February 4, 2017
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. Are you unaware those assembly jobs are not currently held by Americans”? In this case, Trump isn’t putting anybody out of work in America and if it makes free market sense, America is where the work should take place.

      I would prefer American robots to Asian assembly workers if the manufacturing costs are a wash or reduced. It would be unlikely to create more than handful of human jobs since the only way an American operation would be economically viable would be if it was highly automated.

          1. That’s brilliant. You may think everything will be great if you isolate 360 million people in your racist elite gated community, but the other 7 billion people on the planet will resent the arrogance to your long term detriment.

            Divisionism isn’t prudent economically, and it certainly isn’t going to make Americans any safer.

            1. I’m not worried at all about what you do, nor do I even care. I simply rephrased your own question to make it more realistic. I haven’t seen anyone suggest that neighbors should be put first before family..

            2. You and your comment labeling 360 million Americans as you did can go fucq yourself. DustyMac trolled you and you are so intent on your agenda you bit the hook just about as fast as he could bait it. It must be hard being you.

              You made a huge sweeping generalization that standing on its own is pure BS. I would venture to say you are not an American, but are a pretty angry person very disturbed about the new President. Let me clue you in to something – the majority of Americans do not support his agenda in anything resembling its entirety. And most do not support his behavior. Most of those that do only need to experience the ramifications of that agenda to realize they are going to get it stuck up their butts as they have never experienced before. What brought America and a lot of western Europe to this point is a fairly complex recipe that will not be undone very easily and perhaps should be completely undone.

    2. How does Trump put 100,000 people out of work? It’s the robot technology that will put people out of eork, I mean, WORK.

      Liberals try so hard to make specious connections to suit their agenda and looking like total raving dunces in the process.

  1. Robotics are the future, whether in China or the US. For the workers, displaced, time to find a new line of work. Sad, but that is the reality. And it’s coming to fast food too, especially because of the $15 an hour wage.

    1. Yes, the $15 minimum wage follies in California and New York are the result of stupid and/or disingenuous politicians intent on virtue signalling in order to secure votes from the stupid.

      In a normal supply and demand situation, increasing the price of something generally lowers the demand for it. Raising the price of labor reduces the demand for workers. In December 2015, the University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark found that that “current minimum wages have directly reduced the number of jobs nationally by about 100,000 to 200,000” from what they would otherwise have been.

      He found that if wages were simply raised to $10.10 per hour, with no changes to the number of jobs or hours, only 18% of the total increase in incomes would go to workers in families living in poverty. Thirty-two percent of the benefits would flow to families living in the top half of the income distribution.

      How can that be? Neumark points out that the relationship between being a low-wage worker and being in a low-income family is fairly weak. First, in 57 percent of poor families, no one has a job, so no one gets any wages at all. Second, other workers have low incomes because they work low hours, not because they have low wages. Neumark notes that 46 percent of poor part-time workers have hourly wages above $10.10 and 36 percent above $12 per hour. Finally, a large percentage of low-wage workers are secondary workers who live in well-off families – teenage workers.

      Economic research finds “no statistically significant relationship between raising the minimum wage and reducing poverty.” This assessment is bolstered by a November 2015 study conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology economist Carlos Ramirez and his colleagues. An increase in the minimum wage, they concluded, “would only lead to increased unemployment and no change in the poverty rate.” In addition, preliminary estimates by the San Diego State University economist Joseph Sabia and his colleagues suggest that higher minimum wages do not even reduce government spending on welfare and other programs to support poor families.

      By raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, the governors of California and New York, have engaged in feel-good but fact-free political theater that will actually harm the job prospects of their poorest residents.

      The governors of California and New York are either stupid or, worse, intentionally preying upon the stupid and the poor in order to further their political careers. Don’t fall for it.

      1. I just love asinine “studies” like this.

        One of the highest productivity periods in the past century (excluding wartime periods such as WW1 and WW2) was during the late 60s. The inflation adjusted national minimum wage at that time was the equivalent of approximately $11.50 today. No one was crying about the high minimum wage back then killing hundreds of thousands of jobs. Why? Because it did not happen.

        While I, personally, am not in favor of going back to that inflation adjusted peak, and I am not in favor of a truly ridiculous $15.00 minimum wage. No one can realistically say that increasing the federal minimum wage in and of itself will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs. It’s a patently stupid statement.

        1. “No one can realistically say that increasing the federal minimum wage in and of itself will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

          Actually, most serious economic studies of the issue prove that “increasing the federal minimum wage in and of itself will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

          This is the problem with most of the things the Dem/Lib/Progs support: It’s something that makes them feel good. It’s easy. They think “raise the minimum wage” and poverty will be solved. Then they can move on to their next cause du jour. The problem is that their “solution” not only doesn’t fix the issue, it exacerbates it. (For Obama voters: It makes it worse.)

          Raising the minimum wages makes fewer jobs available that the poor can do, drives smart companies even faster to robotics, basically just raises the prices for everyone (negating the minimum wage hike itself), and, in reality (proven by numerous studies) mostly ends up paying teens living at home with middle class more for flipping burgers on summer vacation, after school, and on weekends (those who haven’t simply been replaced by cheaper robots who do the jobs better, yet).

          1. ok, so what are the official dept. of labor figures on job losses every time the minimum wage has been raised over the past 50 years, which basically covers my working career.

            shadow self is correct on the relative value of the late ’60’s minimum wage. i was there and working then.

            1. not really, but hope springs eternal….. even so, i guess he made my point for me by not responding..

              ah, back to the days of 29 to 35 cent per gallon gas and $8 levis – other than the war, the race riots and political assassinations, the ’60’s rocked. it was so good to be young then.

            2. The most recent changes, which took effect in July 2007, raised the minimum wage in three steps from $5.15 per hour (in nominal dollars) to $7.25 in July 2009, where it stands today.

              • Effects of the $9.00 Option on Employment and Income: The $9.00 option would reduce total employment by about 100,000 workers.

              • Effects of the $10.10 Option on Employment and Income: The $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers.

              Source: Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment,” February 2014

              Extrapolate the effects of a stupid $15 minimum wage hike accordingly.

            3. As usual Hawaii bucks the trend. Hawaii’s minimum wage is above the national at $9.25 as of Jan.1, 2017. This will rise to $10.10 in 2018. As for unemployment, the rate has dropped from 4.0% to 2.8% since the Hawaii minimum wage bill was passed in 2014.


              To make things more interesting there are 12 other States + DC that have higher minimum wages currently:


            4. key word in your response……

              which i note that you DID NOT BOLD is….. “WOULD”

              not “DID”, those are projections, i asked for data on what the job losses were for the past instances when the minimum wage was raised over the past 50 years.

              i see nothing from you on that

              case not made.

  2. Data mining is the new blue collar job, not assembly. Apple Google and others are hiring thousands to shift through data for their maps, AI, AR initiatives. That will increase tremendously in the future. We need to train our working class for the future, not look to the past.

    1. As someone who does deal with the remote sensing imagery and data world on a daily basis I can say unequivocally that your premise is false. None of these companies or government agencies hire thousands (or even hundreds) of “image analysts” to do what you suggest. The days of the large groups of image analysts looking at imagery are long, long gone. Yes, there are still core groups, but they are smaller than they used to be. The days of “pretty pictures to calibrated eyeballs” are long gone and will never return.

  3. Funny last time I looked Tim Cook was running Apple, not the chump. I guess they’ll be using the robots for something, maybe they could be accused of wire tapping the chump’s tower since the moronic nation says it will not repeat their claims that is was GCHC that did it.

    Of course we know how worthless their word is and just how low they will go.

  4. This is not Trump’s vision. I have posted the very same ideas many times on this forum over the past decade (and far more eloquently).

    Re-industrialization of the U.S. will primarily take the form of highly automated factories implementing high value-added assembly (such as iPhones). Automation will significantly reduce the impact of the higher cost of labor in the U.S. As a result, many of the new jobs that will be created in the future will be in designing, programming, building, and maintaining robots and automated manufacturing facilities. The overall number of human jobs relative to product output will be much lower than in past decades, and the gap between the more educated and less educated workers will continue to grow. As a result, we are facing massive labor gluts and associated civil unrest in the coming decades. China is facing a much larger problem than the U.S.

    1. Exactly. We need to be finding ways to support all the hurting people who have become unemployed due to market and technology changes since the happy days of the late 50s and early 60s. We should not be trying to reverse those changes and bring those days back. Most mining and manufacturing jobs that have disappeared are simply never returning.

      Insofar as Trump policies can force the repatriation of those activities to America, the new mineral extraction and manufacturing enterprises will be highly automated. Semiskilled mill workers might as well expect to be hired by buggy-whip factories.

      The beneficiaries of these new enterprises will be exactly the more-educated, more-urban, more-mobile, and more-widely-experienced folks who (statistically speaking) did not vote for Mr. Trump and are unlikely to in the future for noneconomic reasons (e.g., horror at the demolition of environmental, social, and cultural programs).

      The core Trump voters (white folks in rural, small town, and small city Middle America) will get nothing—no new jobs, accompanied by both draconian cuts in the social safety net programs that have enabled their survival thus far and significant degradation of the natural environment.

      As the gap between rich and poor widens, a lot of people are going to be very angry. Check out a social history of the early 1930s to see just how close America came to massive civil unrest before the New Deal coopted the angry workers into a new Democratic Party majority. The current Republican Party should mark that lesson and start preparing for the day that the 2016 Trump voters realize that the President cannot deliver on his promise to bring jobs back to their communities. We are on the edge of a social precipice.

  5. It’s hard to see the real world advantage in reducing imports of iPhones by importing Foxbots instead, although I can see the propaganda advantages of saying that iPhones are now made in America while glossing over the tiny detail that it’s only possible to do that by importing large numbers of sophisticated robots. Much depends on whether the end result is solely about creating an impression or whether the real goal should be making a significant difference.

    America still doesn’t make any industrial robots and doesn’t enjoy a reputation for super-precision engineering as found in Switzerland, Germany, Japan, China, Korea and elsewhere, where they have been using industrial robots to build other industrial robots automatically for a number of years.

    Trump may like to boast that America will make robots, but I don’t see how he is proposing to sell that concept to those who vote for him once people wake up to the fact that those robots are designed to replace large numbers of American workers. It’s all the more bizarre to make such a promise when his proposals for the next budget include massive cuts to scientific research, yet scientific research is exactly what would be needed if you wanted to start creating a new generation of world-leading industrial robots.

  6. Predicting whether robotics or manual labor will win out is a fools errand and akin to voodoo economics. Many variables are at work in each decision a company has to make. Those who try to set policy at a macroeconomic level might as well be living in a planned economy.

    It’s a shame we can’t let good old economics determine where to best allocate resources instead of politicizing the decision making process. All that gets anyone is lower efficiency and more costly products and services. And ultimately, the less well off will be hurt the worst. Trumpanomics.

    1. Exactly. This is why I get so p’d off when people call Our Beloved President a conservative. Government intervention in the economy by employing ad hoc carrots and sticks at the individual company level is hardly a policy that any conservative can support.

      His model for “acting presidential” is Andrew Jackson, probably the most radical populist who ever opened the White House to a mob. My grandmother was a registered member of the Choctaw Nation, and the man who committed genocide against her people by contemptuously violating a federal court order isn’t my notion of a role model. I understand that white nationalists who love both Jackson and Trump are calling for a new Trail of Tears.

      I hope it doesn’t come to that. Because I am a conservative, I have some faith in the resilience of our constitutional republic.

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