Some new iMacs marked as being 'Assembled in USA'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple may be taking some of the burden of assembling the new iMac off Chinese supply partners by performing parts of assembly in the U.S., as a number of newly-purchased standard units are showing an "Assembled in USA" notation usually reserved for made-to-order machines.

Assembled in USA
"Assembled in USA" notation found on a new 21.5-inch iMac. | Source: iFixit


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. 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.

The publication noted that Apple's American assembly has been a topic on the company's Support Communities forum since 2006, with most threads concluding the markings are limited to the addition of extra components in an original order, or for refurbished products. However, the most recent post regarding the matter shows a standard iMac SKU purchased from authorized reseller B&H Photo bearing the "Assembled in USA" marking.

A new iMac purchased by a Fortune reader from the San Jose, Calif., Apple Store as well as the unit torn down by repair firm iFixit have identical labels.

As part of its duties, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission regulates manufacturers' "Made in USA" and "Assembled in USA" assertions, pointing out that that latter cannot be a simple "screwdriver" assembly where parts made overseas are bolted onto a near-finalized product.

From the FTC regarding the "Made in USA" standard (emphasis of example added):
Assembled in USA Claims

A product that includes foreign components may be called "Assembled in USA" without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial. For the "assembly" claim to be valid, the product?s last "substantial transformation" also should have occurred in the U.S. That?s why a "screwdriver" assembly in the U.S. of foreign components into a final product at the end of the manufacturing process doesn?t usually qualify for the "Assembled in USA" claim.

Example: A lawn mower, composed of all domestic parts except for the cable sheathing, flywheel, wheel rims and air filter (15 to 20 percent foreign content) is assembled in the U.S. An "Assembled in USA" claim is appropriate.

Example: All the major components of a computer, including the motherboard and hard drive, are imported. The computer?s components then are put together in a simple "screwdriver" operation in the U.S., are not substantially transformed under the Customs Standard, and must be marked with a foreign country of origin. An "Assembled in U.S." claim without further qualification is deceptive.
This suggests that there is at least some substantial assembly being performed in the U.S., though it is not clear what that entails or why. One reason could be the redesigned iMac's constrained supply, which CEO Tim Cook made note of in Apple's quarterly conference call in October.

As for Apple's future plans with domestic assembly, Cook said at the D10: All Things Digital conference in May that he wanted more American-made Apple products, but noted workforce limitations when compared to China.

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

  • Reply 1 of 79


    The Apple I was assembled in Steve Jobs' parents' garage, USA.

  • Reply 2 of 79


    At one time, most of them were.


     


    http://www.minyanville.com/mvpremium/2011/06/09/video-when-apple-computers-were/


     


    Also, I believe there was some type of assembly or distribution center in Cincinnati, OH, just off I-74.

  • Reply 3 of 79
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Pretty funny to see AI put in quotes "Assembled in America" and the picture right underneath says "Assembled in USA". Good ol' AI...
  • Reply 4 of 79
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    At one time, most of them were.

    http://www.minyanville.com/mvpremium/2011/06/09/video-when-apple-computers-were/

    Also, I believe there was some type of assembly or distribution center in Cincinnati, OH, just off I-74.

    NeXT had a big automated plant in the US. There is some video out there showing the process.
  • Reply 5 of 79

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    are not substantially transformed under the Customs Standard

     


     


    You have to look at the definition of "substantially transformed". The FTC site is a PR piece and isn't the legal definition. I remember Dell was in a lawsuit with HP about this with the net result that Dell's slapping of hard drives on in the US did qualify. IIRC, stuff like installing the CPU, loading of OS, flashing the BIOS, configuring apps and burn in testing did qualify as "substantial transformation"

  • Reply 6 of 79
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,244member


    So THAT explains the launch delay, supply constraints...


     


    http://money.msn.com/investing/are-american-workers-getting-lazy-mirhaydari.aspx


     


    Quote:


    "After all, Americans used to share a moral imperative to be productive contributors to society, not couch-surfers wielding armories of Apple products".


     


    image

  • Reply 7 of 79
    Everything that Apple does these days have been scrutinized. I am sure that Apple has its base covered.
  • Reply 8 of 79
    Huh maybe more devices will have that on it in the future maybe the 2013 Mac Pro.
  • Reply 9 of 79
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member


    ship times are slipping,  7 to 10 days now

  • Reply 10 of 79
    I would really like to be able to choose built in America. I wouldn't mind slight extended order times even. We all know if Apple asked for it, Foxconn would return to the US or they could use one of the many US contract manufactures that are here. Most started here and are already here in California and other states. Yes Apple used to build in the US and even in Colorado. Great machines but the wrong CPU (PowerPC was a mistake never admitted as it didn't ever have market share. x86 and ARM both are clearly ISA's - Industry Standard Architectures) back then but this is now. The tool & Die comment about why not US? was the worst non truth - we pioneered high end tool and die and build spacecraft, telescopes and missiles that no other country can match. A iMac is not and issue nor are iphones - that's just plain silly. Great to see final being done here. It should all come back on shore asap.
    And Apple should more of it's profits back to the US too. Step up to the plate Apple...

    But YES I would vote for Apple Mac's with $$$.
  • Reply 11 of 79


    This is a classic dilemma. How many American holders of Apple shares truly want domestic manufacturing? How many really want Apple to "bring back" its profits?


     


    In the first instance, large scale domestic manufacturing is very likely going to decrease the company's gross margin. In the second instance, Apple's tax bill will increase. Both scenarios will bring down $AAPL. How many Apple shareholders, however patriotic, are willing to make that sacrifice?


     


    Will you vote with your flag or your wallet?

  • Reply 12 of 79
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,728member
    It will NOT happen.

    To clarify, let's play "Choose your country of Origin".

    Apple advertises their brand new iMac.

    $1,799.00 - Made in China
    $2,299.00 - Made in USA.

    Same exact machine and specs. Understand that the $500 difference is probably optimistic and would most likely be more.

    Which one are you going to buy?

    If you pick the Chinese model, you're being honest. If you pick the US model, well then you're lying.

    That's the reality. Steve Jobs was right when he told Obama that those jobs are not coming back.
  • Reply 13 of 79
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    sflocal wrote: »
    It will NOT happen.
    To clarify, let's play "Choose your country of Origin".
    Apple advertises their brand new iMac.
    $1,799.00 - Made in China
    $2,200.00 - Made in USA.
    Same exact machine and specs. Understand that the $500 difference is probably optimistic and would most likely be more.
    Which one are you going to buy?
    If you pick the Chinese model, you're being honest. If you pick the US model, well then you're lying.
    That's the reality. Steve Jobs was right when he told Obama that those jobs are not coming back.

    Sourcinggate.....
  • Reply 14 of 79


    Assembly in the USA makes sense for big bulky things where the savings of overseas assembly isn't enough to offset the cost of shipping.  PowerMac and Mac Pro towers and Xserves were (are?) assembled in Elk Grove, California (near Sacramento) and somewhere in Texas.  If Apple decided to do the same with the new iMac for some reason (Mac Pro demand probably isn't keeping the plants very busy, and Xserves are gone) it wouldn't come as a huge surprise.

  • Reply 15 of 79

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Patrick Byars View Post



    I would really like to be able to choose built in America.


     


    You can already do that today. It's called TAA Compliant, and it guarantees the parts are made in countries that have free trade agreements with the US (EU, NAFTA, Japan) or are third-world countries. Not China, Taiwan or Korea. It does not mean the company is American either, Samsung sells TAA parts. The Feds are typically required to do so, as are many Federal contractors.

  • Reply 16 of 79

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by herbapou View Post


    ship times are slipping,  7 to 10 days now



     


    It's been like that for days.

  • Reply 17 of 79
    When I was recently back in Bay Area, I saw Foxconn now, what appears to be a business presence, in a building at CA-237 and Great America Parkway. I am sure it is a business offices, but maybe they might be looking at utilizing some assembly building to handle some of the contract manufacturing back in the good old Valley.
  • Reply 18 of 79

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post



    It will NOT happen.

    To clarify, let's play "Choose your country of Origin".

    Apple advertises their brand new iMac.

    $1,799.00 - Made in China

    $2,299.00 - Made in USA.

    Same exact machine and specs. Understand that the $500 difference is probably optimistic and would most likely be more.

    Which one are you going to buy?

    If you pick the Chinese model, you're being honest. If you pick the US model, well then you're lying.

    That's the reality. Steve Jobs was right when he told Obama that those jobs are not coming back.


    Your hypothetical scenario is unrealistic. I don't believe there would be a difference of $500 in the cost of manufacture between the two countries.

  • Reply 19 of 79

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Patrick Byars View Post



    I would really like to be able to choose built in America. I wouldn't mind slight extended order times even. We all know if Apple asked for it, Foxconn would return to the US or they could use one of the many US contract manufactures that are here. Most started here and are already here in California and other states. Yes Apple used to build in the US and even in Colorado. Great machines but the wrong CPU (PowerPC was a mistake never admitted as it didn't ever have market share. x86 and ARM both are clearly ISA's - Industry Standard Architectures) back then but this is now. The tool & Die comment about why not US? was the worst non truth - we pioneered high end tool and die and build spacecraft, telescopes and missiles that no other country can match. A iMac is not and issue nor are iphones - that's just plain silly. Great to see final being done here. It should all come back on shore asap.

    And Apple should more of it's profits back to the US too. Step up to the plate Apple...

    But YES I would vote for Apple Mac's with $$$.




    You would wait longer, I would actually pay more.  Not huge amounts, but I would be in for a a few percent.

  • Reply 20 of 79
    My guess would be that their new "friction-stir welding" technology involved in the assembly of the new iMacs may be something they aren't allowed to export, or perhaps were requested NOT to export, to China.

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/10/24/apple-slims-down-imac-40-with-friction-stir-welding-ditching-the-disc-drive
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