While nothing is concrete at this point, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Brian Williams on NBC’s Rock Center that Apple is planning to shift entire production of an existing Mac line into the United States.
All signs point to the iMac being moved over, given that some people have actually begun receiving their late-2012 generation units with an inscription that reads, “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in USA.” This is a divergence from the usual “Assembled in China” marking on the back of most, if not all, Apple products.
Of course, nothing has been solidified yet, but unless Tim is planning to move more than one production line over, then the iMac is it. However, the units we’re seeing right now are probably just assembled in the USA, while the ones Tim refers to will likely have most major components produced in the United States.
Next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac. We’ve been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We’re really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it’s broader because we wanted to do something more substantial. So we’ll literally invest over $100 million. This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people, and we’ll be investing our money.
As it stands right now, the microprocessor in iPhone 5 as well as the glass front and back plates are manufactured in the USA. It stands to reason that Intel will continue to manufacture iMac microprocessors (they’re currently making Core i7 chips in Israel), but the large glass screen could easily be manufactured in Kentucky as it is now.
Apple has been under fire recently with manufacturer suicides and other missteps at Foxconn, the company that manufacturers most of Apple’s devices, including iPhone and iPad. Apple has actively and transparently monitored the labour situation and regularly updates its page on Labor and Human Rights and keeping suppliers responsible.
While not directly related to manufacturing Macs in the USA, it is worth noting that, in the same interview, Tim mentioned that the Apple TV has become “an area of intense interest” and that he “can’t say more at this time.” Are we going to be getting an actual Apple television next year? We’ll just have to wait and see, but things are looking up!