Apple manufactures its products outside of the United States, much to the chagrin of some. However, back in 2012, Apple did try to change.
Several years ago, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said that the latest generation of the Mac Pro would be manufactured in the United States. However, as noted in a new report from The New York Times, it would be the “Made in USA” screws that derailed those plans. That forced the company to turn back to Chinese suppliers for help in fulfilling mass production goals.
According to the report, a machine shop in the state of Texas was tasked with manufacturing screws for the Mac Pro. However, the shop was only able to produce 1,000 screws on a daily basis. That wouldn’t be good enough, and Apple had to go back to Chinese suppliers to meet demand.
“Tests of new versions of the computer were hamstrung because a 20-employee machine shop that Apple’s manufacturing contractor was relying on could produce at most 1,000 screws a day.
The screw shortage was one of several problems that postponed sales of the computer for months, the people who worked on the project said. By the time the computer was ready for mass production, Apple had ordered screws from China.”
The full report is certainly worth a read. In response to it, an Apple spokesperson said that the company is “an engine of economic growth in the United States”. It earmarks 9,000 suppliers stationed in the United States, which supports 450,000 jobs in the country. That includes suppliers such as Corning for the displays in the iPhone and iPad, which is based out of Kentucky. Cincinnati Test Systems handles water-resistance testing out of Ohio. Apple gets wireless chips from various companies, including Broadcom out of Colorado and Skyworks out of Massachusetts.
The report details why Apple isn’t likely to rely on manufacturing in the United States anytime soon, especially as it points out that in comparison to China’s scale, expertise, overall infrastructure, and cost, the U.S.’s alternatives aren’t keeping up.