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United States Apple

Some Apple iMacs "Assembled In America" 279

Posted by samzenpus
from the american-made dept.
whisper_jeff writes "A number of newly-purchased standard units are showing an "Assembled in America" notation. While the markings don't necessarily mean that Apple is in the midst of transferring its entire assembly operation from China to the U.S., it does indicate that at least a few of the new iMacs were substantially assembled domestically."
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Some Apple iMacs "Assembled In America"

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  • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sez Zero (586611) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:08PM (#42173479) Journal
    TFA notes the language "Assembled in the USA" so that's pretty clear.
  • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

    by aaronfaby (741318) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:08PM (#42173483)
    It actually says "Assembled in USA".
  • by mr_zorg (259994) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:08PM (#42173485)

    The summary and title are misleading. If you read the article, the pictures clearly shows "Assembled in USA". My first thought when I saw "Assembled in America" was that Foxconn has facilities in Brazil now - so perhaps it was really "Assembled in South America". But, no, it really is in the USA. Very cool, Apple.

  • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

    by vlm (69642) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:12PM (#42173525)

    The article goes into detail about how customs officials are not amused by things like that. "more than screwdriver assembly" is required.

  • Nothing new for CTO (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:26PM (#42173661)

    This has been the case for Configure-to-order (CTO) Macs for a long time.

    Basically, bulk shipping across the Pacific is cheap; point-to-point shipping across the Pacific is expensive.

    Stock-model PCs can be shipped on the proverbial slow boat en masse to a US distribution center, essentially in a convoy, and then unloaded and shipped UPS/Fedex to your door when you order them. You only have to wait for delivery from the dist center, since appropriately configured models are arriving every day.

    When you CTO a Mac, a unit has to be specifically configured to your spec before it can be shipped to you. If this were done in China, it would have to be air-freighted directly to your address from China, which is horrendously expensive. (Shipping the unit by boat would take forever.)

    I have seen this done even when the "configuration" is to include the full-format wired keyboard instead of the wireless compact keyboard. Apple's fulfillment process basically breaks down to not-custom-at-all (= China) or any-customization-no-mater-how-minor (= US) For US customers, at least. I think they also had a similar operation in Cork Ireland at one time.)

    So instead, when you CTO, the manufacturer bulk-ships enclosures, motherboards, LCD panels, and such to a US fulfillment center, then snaps the right pieces together to complete your order. It is quite literally assembly of the system. (About as much work as building your own PC from components from Newegg, I would say.)

    I would guess that most PC vendors do much the same thing, but since typical PC towers are much more easily configurable than an Apple iMac, they probably have to do even less work stateside.

  • RTFA (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:31PM (#42173713)

    I'm going to assume that they mean "assembled in the USA" in the same way that Levis means "made in the USA," which is to say they are fabricated in China, then a tiny sticker or a single screw or some such is applied in the US so that they can legally say the product was made in the US.

    RTFA, which quotes the FTC regs on what is allowed to be labeled "USA."

    And no, nobody else does that either. Go look; your clothes say "made in Bangladesh" or wherever. The whole "put in one screw" thing is an urban legend from the '60s or something.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:38PM (#42173767)

    I'm going to assume that they mean "assembled in the USA" in the same way that Levis means "made in the USA," which is to say they are fabricated in China, then a tiny sticker or a single screw or some such is applied in the US so that they can legally say the product was made in the US.

    There are very strict rules (the FTC enforces them) about the terms "Made in the USA" and "Assembled in the USA".

    The former means that all or virtually all of a product is made in the US. Obviously, the iMac doesn't quality for this (the FTC proposed defining it as 75% of manufacturing costs were spent in the USA AND the product was "last transformed" in the USA).

    "Assembled in the USA" means that it's made up of foreign parts, but the last substantial transformation (or assembly) of the product is done in the US. Interestingly, "screwdriver" assembly of foreign parts does not count. This could easily mean that the iMac was more than importing the parts into the US and put-together there - perhaps the case assembly was produced from US manufacturing processes (including say, the friction-stir-welding), then the rest of the parts (which are China and foreign made out of supply-chain necessity)

    Do not confuse the two terms "Made in USA" and "Assembed in USA" as they are significantly different in meanting. The FTC enforces the terminology and has found companies liable for violating "Made in USA" rules. Heck, I think some companies dubiously put "Made in USA from domestic and foreign parts"....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:55PM (#42173899)

    There is a town in Japan named "Usa" [wikipedia.org] and back in the 1960's, transistor radios were made there and had a "MADE IN USA" label on them. They did not rename the town to USA, "Usa" was always been its name.
    The fact that items made there were imported into the USA bearing the label is true. My parents ran a radio & television shop in the mid-late 1960's and I saw these little Japanese transistor radios with the "MADE IN USA" labels first-hand, and even owned one myself as a child.

  • http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/usa.asp [snopes.com]

    The Usa Shrine was built there in the 8th century so the time traveler who managed to name or rename it for such a nefarious plot had to have arrived somewhat earlier.

    It's a very pretty place.

    http://www.city.usa.oita.jp/ [usa.oita.jp]

  • by Demolition (713476) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:53PM (#42174409)
    Just to expand on this a bit more...

    From 1976-1981, Apple manufactured all Apple computers in the U.S. They had plants in Fremont, CA, Elk Grove, CA, and Carrollton, TX.

    In 1981, they opened plants in Cork, Ireland, and Singapore to serve the European and Asian markets, respectively.

    In 1984, a second plant was built in Fremont exclusively for Mac production. The Cork factory also switched over to making Macs.

    In 1985, John Sculley took over from Steve Jobs and one of his first actions as CEO was to shut down the three original plants, leaving only the three in Fremont, Cork, and Singapore.

    In 1991, Apple opened another new U.S. plant in Fountain, CO.

    In 1992, the second Fremont plant was downsized and most of its operations were moved to Sacramento. That same year, a new plant was built in India, and the Elk Grove plant was doubled in size to accommodate a motherboard/logicboard factory. I recall that the last batch of Macs rolled out of Fremont in 1998 or 1999 before the plant itself was shuttered.

    1992 is the watershed year. From then until 1994, Apple began downsizing its U.S. manufacturing and, in turn, expanding its operations in Ireland.

    Today, all of the Apple-owned plants are gone, except for Elk Grove and Cork. Apple now relies on external vendors in several locations: Texas, Czech Republic, Singapore, South Korea, China, and Brazil.

    I'm guessing that the new U.S.-assembled Macs are made in Elk Grove and by the contractor in Texas.
  • by mister_playboy (1474163) on Monday December 03, 2012 @08:19PM (#42175093)

    Just FYI, AC's user ID is 666.

  • by rhook (943951) on Monday December 03, 2012 @08:47PM (#42175257)

    The fact that items made there were imported into the USA bearing the label is true.

    FALSE.

    http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/usa.asp [snopes.com]

  • by Dare nMc (468959) on Monday December 03, 2012 @08:58PM (#42175327)

    You should probably read the Snopes reference link from your wikipedia article, which makes it very clear that USA, Japan never exported anything as "Made in USA." That transistor radio may have been imported through Saipan thus getting the made in USA label, but it didn't get that label from USA, Japan. That was never done.

  • by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:27PM (#42175499) Homepage Journal
    You know, the magazine where Vannevar Bush published As We May Think [theatlantic.com], the seminal article about the web? In 1945?

    This month the lead is Comeback: Why the future of industry is in America [theatlantic.com]

    We saw this some years ago when NASDAQ started insourcing, after realizing they'd overshot when doing outsourcing. Now it's visible in companies like Emerson and Apple.

    --dave

  • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @04:47AM (#42177269)

    Works of fiction dealing with this include ..

    * Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age" - not so bad, actually, the lower classes at least get free subsistence goods

    Cory Doctorow

    * Printcrime - short story, imprisonment for using your printer to print copyrighted goods
    * Makers

    Charles Stross

    * Singularity Sky - deals with a society that deliberately withholds molecular manufacturing technology from it's people, and what happens when it drops from the sky one day (literally)

    Mashall Brain

    * Manna - short story, two possible outcomes of robot labour (internment camps for the poor, and the Star Trek type utopia)

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