Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook takes the stage during Apple Inc.'s iPhone media event in San Francisco, California September 12, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced today that the tech giant will begin shifting some of the assembly and manufacturing of its computers and mobile devices to the United States.
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Cook said the company will invest $100 million into the move, and hopes to have production up and running sometime in 2013.
While the facilities may not all be Apple's own, they'll be working with U.S.-based partners.
"We've been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013," said Cook to BusinessWeek.
"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," he said.
Speculation about the move has been rampant since last week, when Apple started selling its latest version of the iMac computer. Some of the new iMacs arrived with the phrase "Assembled in USA" engraved on them, in contrast to the typical "Assembled in China" stamped on most Apple products.
In the past, "Assembled in USA" appeared on a few custom-ordered Apple products, because the final configurations were put together in the U.S. But this is the first time the phrase has appeared on standard configuration off-the-shelf models.
Cook didn't say what kinds of products will be made in America, though he did stress than many components used by Apple already are, like processors, and glass for iPhone screens.
He also said that the company would have moved some operations sooner, but that they were having difficult finding Americans with the proper training.
That seems like an exaggeration, as the CEO of Foxconn, Apple's Chinese manufacturer, said recently that they were having trouble finding Chinese workers with the skill necessary to assemble the latest iPhone models. Americans can make processors but not phones? And Apple made all its products in the U.S. until the mid-1990s. It produced all its iMacs in California until 2004.
For now, it seems likely that Apple will produce some Mac Pro and Mac Mini computers in the U.S., since those models lack the complicated built-in screens of iMacs, iPads and iPhones.