Tim Cook: "I want there to be" American-made Apple products

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Pressed to answer why Apple doesn't own its own factories in China and, alternatively, why it isn't taking the lead to move manufacturing and assembly from China to the United States, Tim Cook answered "I want there to be" American-made products.

When asked by All Things Digital co-host Kara Swisher, "Why isn't there an Apple factory in China, run by Apple?" Cook answered, "We decided a decade ago that there were some things we could do ourselves better than anyone.

"But other things," Cook continued, "we decided we shouldn't put our own efforts into. Manufacturing was one of those. With manufacturing, we looked at it and said that someone else could do it better."

Walt Mossberg then asked Cook, "There's been a lot of talk recently about reviving manufacturing here in the U.S. You used to have a factory, I think in Colorado. You're probably the most influential company in technology, and you're an operations expert -- will there be an Apple product ever made again in America?"

Cook emphatically answered, "I want there to be! I want there to be!"

Tim Cook at D10


He then noted that "the [ARM semiconductor] engine for the iPad and iPhone are built in the U.S., in Austin, Texas. The [Corning] glass for your iPhone (sold worldwide) is made in Kentucky."

Cook then acknowledged, "there's an intense focus on the final assembly. Could that be done in the U.S.? I sure hope so. But look, how many tool-and-die makers do you know in America? I could ask them, nationwide, to come here tonight and we couldn't fill [a few hundred seats in] this room," noting that in China, tool-and-die makers fill cities.

"We will do as many of these things [in America] as we can do," Cook added, "and you can bet that we'll use the whole of our influence to do this."



"Will I ever buy an iPhone that on the rear, it says 'Made in California'?" Mossberg asked.

"It may, it may! I mean, you could say now that 'some parts are made in America,'" Cook said, reiterating processor and glass components before talking about software, and how much the "app economy" has blossomed in the US following the debut of the iPhone.

Cook's enthusiasm and optimism regarding the potential of a resurgence in American manufacturing comes in stark contrast to the matter of fact answers Steve Jobs provided just over a year ago.

When asked similar questions about the potential for U.S. assembly by US President Barack Obama, Jobs reportedly stated, "Those jobs aren't coming back."

In March, Apple began publishing figures outlining how many jobs the company was creating within the U.S. outside of final assembly, claiming that 514,000 people are employed in the States because of Apple.

Jobs


Echoing Cook's mention of new mobile development jobs, the company cited a 2012 study by TechNet that found that 466,000 jobs have been added to the U.S. economy related to mobile development.

Visit AppleInsider's D10 archive for more of Cook's comments and ongoing coverage of the conference.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,502member


    Tool and Die makers have dried up because corporations cut all the jobs, Community Colleges stopped focusing on those programs and now everyone is running around asking where they went?


     


    You sold them out. Of course it will take a few years to bring them back and ramp up existing talent with augmented skills and those same veteran tool and die talent to help train the next generation.


     


    As big as the US is the Industrial Arts segment could be flush in 18 months.

     

  • Reply 2 of 57
    Jobs was right - the manufacturing jobs aren't coming back, even if manufacturing comes back to America, because the only way mass manufacturing can exist in America is if it is highly automated, meaning lots of robots and few humans on the factory floor.

    Labor costs in the USA are just too high, which is why Foxconn is expanding in Brazil and elsewhere, not here.
  • Reply 3 of 57
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    If Apple built the iPhone in the U.S. it would cost you $2000.
  • Reply 4 of 57
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jd_in_sb wrote: »
    If Apple built the iPhone in the U.S. it would cost you $2000.

    A lot more than that, if even could be done. What you're looking is just the final assembly as Cook addressed in the interview...
    There's an intense focus on the final assembly. They don't think about all of the parts underneath, where the significant value of the buildable material is. Can this be done in the US? I hope so, one day.
  • Reply 5 of 57
    gwlaw99gwlaw99 Posts: 134member
    Labor costs aside. China controls the vast majority of rare earth elements needed in complex electronics. They only export so much. Thus, you have to build in china to have access to them.
  • Reply 6 of 57
    nitronitro Posts: 91member


    Online Apple store is closed. May be new models of Macbooks? more part time jobs will be created at my local American town?

  • Reply 7 of 57
    patranuspatranus Posts: 366member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post



    If Apple built the iPhone in the U.S. it would cost you $2000.


    Only if we continue to allow the federal government to over regulate and fix the cost of labor.


    Hell with real unemployment at ~20% you would think that the government would get the memo.

  • Reply 8 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Frankly this is nonsense.

    First there are plenty of tool and die makers in the USA. However you won't get many of them to go to work for Apple. Second Chinas supply of trained talent isn't unlimited.

    Second saying "I want there to be" is excutives talk for saying the there isn't a chance in hell with current conditions in the country. Wanting something and being able to deliver it is two different things.

    There is hope though, when you can reliably sell millions of a device a quarter then automation can produce hardware cost effectively.

    Lastly from a strategic standpoint having all of your manufacturing in one basket is stupid. One political misstep or one natural disaster and Apple is dead in the water. I'm surprised Apples board hasn't demanded spreading out risk.
  • Reply 9 of 57
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,728member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    Frankly this is nonsense.

    First there are plenty of tool and die makers in the USA. However you won't get many of them to go to work for Apple. Second Chinas supply of trained talent isn't unlimited.

    Second saying "I want there to be" is excutives talk for saying the there isn't a chance in hell with current conditions in the country. Wanting something and being able to deliver it is two different things.

    There is hope though, when you can reliably sell millions of a device a quarter then automation can produce hardware cost effectively.

    Lastly from a strategic standpoint having all of your manufacturing in one basket is stupid. One political misstep or one natural disaster and Apple is dead in the water. I'm surprised Apples board hasn't demanded spreading out risk.


    Yeah, that flooding in Thailand that halted hard drive production really left Apple dead in the water... *rolls eyes*



    Apple's manufacturing is spread all over the place.  China is mainly the assembler.  Heck, certain component suppliers won't even manufacture their wares in China for fear China will rip-off their IP.  Instead, it's manufactured elsewhere (like in Japan or South Korea, then shipped to Foxconn in China to be assembled.



    Now that Foxconn is opening another plant in Brazil, Apple is getting extra baskets.

  • Reply 10 of 57
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    Assembling stuff on a production line is not such a great life. The US already has the primo Apple jobs - chip, software and industrial design. And for the lower skilled, or people just getting a start in life, there are retail and transport jobs. Don't envy the Chinese, America.

  • Reply 11 of 57
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member

    "Tim Cook: 'I want there to be' Apple products made in America"


     


    Sure, already done. Brazil is part of America. Learn Geography!
  • Reply 12 of 57
    gregalexandergregalexander Posts: 1,399member


    How disappointing. I mean seriously, I want Apple products to be made in Australia :)


     


    How about the answer "our products sell all over the world, and we manufacturer around the world too. We'd like to become MORE international rather than LESS.".

  • Reply 13 of 57
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,365member

    Quote:


    mdriftmeyer: Tool and Die makers have dried up because corporations cut all the jobs, Community Colleges stopped focusing on those programs and now everyone is running around asking where they went?


     


    You sold them out. Of course it will take a few years to bring them back and ramp up existing talent with augmented skills and those same veteran tool and die talent to help train the next generation.


     


    As big as the US is the Industrial Arts segment could be flush in 18 months.




     


    I agree with this. Not to say the unions are not without blame. But basically we were sold out by the CEO/corporations in search of cheap labor/profits overseas. Now the CEO's are allowing China and Korea to steal our IP.

  • Reply 14 of 57
    muadibemuadibe Posts: 134member
    patranus wrote: »
    Only if we continue to allow the federal government to over regulate and fix the cost of labor.
    Hell with real unemployment at ~20% you would think that the government would get the memo.

    So when Congress reduces the minimum wage to $1 a day ( as you seem to think would be just peachy), where are these minimum wage workers supposed to live? How are they supposed to eat.
  • Reply 15 of 57
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    patranus wrote: »
    Only if we continue to allow the federal government to over regulate and fix the cost of labor.
    Hell with real unemployment at ~20% you would think that the government would get the memo.

    First, unemployment is not 20%.

    Second, even if labor were free, it would be far more expensive to manufacture the iPhone in the US than in China. Labor is a relatively small portion of the problem.
  • Reply 16 of 57
    cmvsmcmvsm Posts: 204member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Tool and Die makers have dried up because corporations cut all the jobs, Community Colleges stopped focusing on those programs and now everyone is running around asking where they went?


     


    You sold them out. Of course it will take a few years to bring them back and ramp up existing talent with augmented skills and those same veteran tool and die talent to help train the next generation.


     


    As big as the US is the Industrial Arts segment could be flush in 18 months.

     



    Disagree. Those kind of manufacturing jobs for the US are long gone, and will stay gone. The US is so far behind countries like China in this segment, they will never catch up. From a future investment perspective, the US ranks dead last in metrics such as human capital (education and training), IT infrastructure, and economic performance, among some 40 industrialized nations. If we don't get straightened out quickly, the US will not be a viable competitor in the future global economy.

  • Reply 17 of 57
    cmvsmcmvsm Posts: 204member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muadibe View Post





    So when Congress reduces the minimum wage to $1 a day ( as you seem to think would be just peachy), where are these minimum wage workers supposed to live? How are they supposed to eat.


    This is where Foxconn is genius. They'v created their own manufacturing cities, where one can live at a discount, and the work place provides everything that you need from food to entertainment. These people basically live at Foxconn and are able to easily survive on their pay scale.

  • Reply 18 of 57
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    if the iPhone was made inthe USA, people would still grey market the china iPhone because it would be cheaper.

    The US would never levy a Customs duty on china made products!... free trade!...


    Why is the Xbox not made in the USA?... Microsoft has more than enough money to make manufacturing plants in the USA, and the consoles design does not change yearly... if you can answer why the Xbox is not made in the USA, you will have the answer to why the iPhone is not made in the USA.
  • Reply 19 of 57
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member


    What is it about this fetish of being "made in America?"


     


    Geez.


     


    Most complex products are "made" across the globe. Why is this made. What is magical or wonderful about every element of a product being made within the boundaries of the U.S.?

  • Reply 20 of 57
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    What is it about this fetish of being "made in America?"


     


    Geez.


     


    Most complex products are "made" across the globe. Why is this made. What is magical or wonderful about every element of a product being made within the boundaries of the U.S.?



    For me I just want to support jobs in my own country. If I lived in Canada, I'd want to support Canadian jobs. Ireland, Norway, Sweden, etc.


     


    It's not everything that I want to be made here though I am sick of buying everything from clothes to electronics and seeing "Made in China."

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