John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Designed by Apple in California — Assembled in the U.S.?

Apple once operated a factory in the United States. Will it ever open another one? Will we ever see an Apple device labeled “Designed by Apple in California -– Assembled in the United States”? Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t sure, but he’s certainly open to the idea, though it’s not an easy one to execute.

“I want there to be [another U.S.-manufactured Apple product],” Cook said onstage at our 10th D: All Things Digital conference earlier this week, adding that some important pieces of a few of Apple’s devices are currently made in the States.

“This is not well known, but the engines for the iPhone and iPad are built in the U.S., in Austin,” Cook said. “The glass on the iPhone is made at a plant in Kentucky — and not just for the U.S., but for other markets outside the U.S. as well.”

But those are just a few components. And the bulk of them are not only manufactured outside the U.S., but assembled into Apple devices there as well.

Could assembly ever be done in the U.S.?

Said Cook, “I hope so, one day.”

But in order for that to ever happen, the U.S. really needs to up its game.

“The truth is the tool-and-die-maker skill in the U.S. began to go down in the late ’60s and early ’70s,” Cook said. “How many tool-and-die makers do you know in the U.S. now? I could call a meeting and invite every tool-and-die maker in the United States and we wouldn’t fill this room.”

Not so in China, though. Said Cook, “In China you could fill a city with tool-and-die makers.”

So there’s significant work to be done if we’re ever to reach that “Designed by Apple in California -– Assembled in the United States” dream.

“There has to be some fundamental changes in the education system and the tool-and-die business in the United States to really bring consumer electronics assembly back to the U.S. But there are things that we can do, and that’s what we’re working on doing, and you can bet that we will use the whole of our influence to do it.”

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