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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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  • But... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by b5bartender (2175066) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:06PM (#42173465)
    North America or Central America?
    • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sez Zero (586611) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:08PM (#42173479) Journal
      TFA notes the language "Assembled in the USA" so that's pretty clear.
      • Re:But... (Score:5, Funny)

        by b5bartender (2175066) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:09PM (#42173491)
        Ah, excellent use of quotations in the summary.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I wonder if they mean.. we take it out of bulk packaging and put it into consumer packaging ;-) (sarcasm)

        • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

          by vlm (69642) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:12PM (#42173525)

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

          • by arth1 (260657)

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

            Not a problem when we're talking about new Macs. Where's the glue gun?

      • TFA notes the language "Assembled in the USA" so that's pretty clear.

        Back in the 1950s Japan was plowsharing the remainder of it's WW II manufacturing plants into manufacturing cheap stamped-metal toys and gadgets, largely for export. "Made in Japan" was synonymous with cheap and shoddy. (This was when they were bootstrapping themselves out of the rubble, before they adopted Demming principles and became noted for high-quality, instead, starting with optics and cameras.)

        I hear that, during that time, a sm

    • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

      by aaronfaby (741318) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:08PM (#42173483)
      It actually says "Assembled in USA".
  • by mr_zorg (259994) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:08PM (#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.

    • Let's hope it means "in the United States of America" and not some town in a faraway land named "usa" that they've chose to capitalize the letters.

    • by msauve (701917) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:35PM (#42173739)
      The article is misleading, too. It states "the 21.5-inch iMacs are some of the first known examples of an Apple computer being assembled in the U.S., according to Fortune."

      However, Apple ][, ][+, Macintoshes up to at least the SE and Mac II, were all made in the USA.
      • iMacs were manufactured at Apple's Elk Grove, California facility from 1992-2003.
        • by msauve (701917)
          That's amazing, since the iMac wasn't even introduced until 1998!
          • They were much too far ahead of their time, so they were stored for a while until the world caught up to Apple.

      • by Demolition (713476) on Monday December 03, 2012 @07:53PM (#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.
    • Besides built-to-order machines, the 21.5-inch iMacs are some of the first known examples of an Apple computer being assembled in the U.S., according to Fortune.

      Also, Fortune is wrong.

      The "Apple I" is actually the first known example of an Apple computer being assembled in the US.

      I remember, Apple hired US housewives to assemble their first computers.

  • Misdirection (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:14PM (#42173547)

    I couldn't care less about where it was assembled. The parts are still made in China, which is where the quality is real labor comes from. I'll be impressed if they open up actual factories here in the US, and stop using Ireland to funnel cheaper tax rates.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:24PM (#42173641)

      I couldn't care less about where it was assembled. The parts are still made in China

      If you cared about both things then you had better not be typing on a computer less than twenty years old.

      Otherwise why are you harping on Apple for slowly shifting some assembly AND manufacture (remember they make chips in Texas) to the U.S. and giving every other company a free pass?

      It's obvious it's going to take some time to move much of the whole process back to the U.S., if it can be done at all. At least Apple is trying.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by scot4875 (542869)

        The reason that Apple gets singled out is because they go to such lengths to make sure you see the "Designed by Apple in California" every time you open one of their products, to trigger the "rah rah USA company!" emotional response. If they didn't go to such lengths to intentionally manipulate people, and also if they didn't position themselves as a premium brand when, in fact, their shit is made out of the same components and made in the same facilities as everybody else's shit, they might have a justifi

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rockoon (1252108)

        If you cared about both things then you had better not be typing on a computer less than twenty years old.

        Gee, I don't know.. every computer I have owned for my entire adult life has been assembled in America, with American labor, and extremely reasonable work hours...

        ....on my kitchen table.

        I *still* don't give a fuck where your computer was assembled.

    • Re:Misdirection (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thestudio_bob (894258) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:25PM (#42173653)

      I couldn't care less about where it was assembled. The parts are still made in China, which is where the quality is real labor comes from. I'll be impressed if they open up actual factories here in the US, and stop using Ireland to funnel cheaper tax rates.

      I'm sure this is directed to all large multi-national companies and not just Apple, right? Or is the old adage, "Haters going to hate." in full effect here?

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        What do you mean large multinationals? It's pretty difficult to buy diverse electronic parts manufactured outside Asia no matter who you are.

    • I couldn't care less about where it was assembled. The parts are still made in China, which is where the quality is real labor comes from. I'll be impressed if they open up actual factories here in the US, and stop using Ireland to funnel cheaper tax rates.

      I bet you the parts were actually made in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. If the iMac is anything like the iPad [economist.com], China has little high tech industry to contribute to it, just cheap human labor. Those three countries make most of the parts and get more money than China out of the purchase price. China gets all the crap because its the last stop before sale and has its name on the product.

    • Apple do assemble in Ireland too. My iMac G5 with iSight says "Assembled in Ireland", as do many BTO products.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:17PM (#42173585)

    1. Design product in California
    2. Outsource assembly to China
    3. Import product
    4. Assemble the BOX in America, stamp "assembled in the USA" on it
    5. Put the chinese product in the US-MADE BOX !
    6. ...
    7. PROFIT !

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:26PM (#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.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      I've personally ordered four Macs, all build to order, over the last ten years. They've all been FedExed from Shanghai (to Alaska, flying over my head to Tennessee, then back to me). Ditto iPods, including some that were engraved.

      It's also very unlikely that the kind of BTO options Apple provides would qualify for an "Assembled in the USA" marking. Adding memory, changing the hard drive, etc. are not sufficient.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      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

    • Air freight is expensive, unless you pre-allocate so much capacity that the operators give you amazing rates.
      Apple are famous for one holiday season pre-purchasing so much additional air freight that PC manufacturers were left stranded because there were no more spots left on the planes.

      Apple (historically) have used Singapore and then China as their manufacturing base and CTO machines are configured to your spec - quite literally, your order goes into a queue and the next machine off the assembly line is c

    • but since typical PC towers are much more easily configurable than an Apple iMac, they probably have to do even less work stateside.

      I think that's understating matters somewhat. Just to get the "case" open requires a heat gun, numerous guitar picks, and the patience of Jove to not damage anything. Replacing the RAM consists of a total disassembly of the entire system, removing every last piece, and there are several design decisions that the only explanation for is to make it more difficult for even the most experience disassembler to gain access to. With a PC case, the most you usually need is a phillips-head screwdriver, standard size

      • ... requires a heat gun, numerous guitar picks, and the patience of Jove to not damage anything.

        Sounds like a comic super hero: Have no fear, IT Guitarman is here!

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:36PM (#42173751)

    I knew this time would come.

  • That is a million dollar idea - rename one of the manufacturing towns in China to "USA"... god, the amount of cheap stuff you could sell to patriotic 'Mercins with that sticker.

  • Just keep printing dollars like crazy, and soon you should have all the production back.

  • by senatorpjt (709879) on Monday December 03, 2012 @07:04PM (#42173989)

    "Besides built-to-order machines, the 21.5-inch iMacs are some of the first known examples of an Apple computer being assembled in the U.S., according to Fortune."

    I would think that in the past, they were all assembled in the US, at least the Apple II was made in the US. I'm not sure when they started making everything in China, but all of the manufacturing moved there pretty recently. The Apple II was made at the time that stuff was still manufactured here.

  • by AndyKron (937105) on Monday December 03, 2012 @07:06PM (#42174021)
    Sometimes companies start a new product in the states at a contract manufacturer so they can stay close, and work out the production lines. After that the information goes overseas. I used to work for a CM where we'd get this type of job all the time.
  • Design, components and construction are not important in products any more. It's all about patents and patent litigation.

    So maybe the USA is not the cheapest and best quality for production. But the patent lawyers, courts and juries in the USA are second to none!

  • Isn't this just China out-sourcing to USA to cut costs?
  • Apparently, stuff imported from The Northern Mariana Islands [wikipedia.org] qualifies for a "Made in USA" label even though there are reports that the stuff actually comes from China. There's even a catchy name for this game: The Saipan Scam [bmwe.org]

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