Thursday, December 06, 2012

Tim Cook states some Mac manufacturing to come to the U.S. in 2013, but 'Rock Center' interview mostly PR

It was earlier noted that at least some recent iMacs have been manufactured in the U.S., and although it was thought that was on a limited basis, Apple seems ready to expand that. In an interview with Brian Williams on NBC's "Rock Center," set to air tonight, Apple CEO Tim Cook says in 2013 Apple will manufacture one of is existing Mac lines -- exclusively -- in the U.S.

The clip from the interview, in which Cook makes that statement is embedded. Earlier, when asked directly by U.S. President Barack Obama, Tim Cook's predecessor, the late Steve Jobs, said the manufacturing jobs that had been outsourced overseas were never coming back.

Cook did not specify which of the Mac lines would be built in the U.S. Considering that Apple gets most of its revenue not from Macs, but from iPhones and iPads, which will continue to be built in China and elsewhere, this won't have a major impact on adding U.S. jobs -- and there is no doubting that.

When asked by Williams what price changes would occur if everything was built in the U.S. -- specifically the iPhone 5 -- Cook sidestepped the question. Rather than addressing the fact that Chinese labor is so cheap, he said it was about skill in building things.

U.S. factory workers will probably harangue Cook for the statement. Cook said:
Honestly, it's not so much about price; it's about the skills, etc. Over time, there are skills that are associated with manufacturing that have left the U.S. Not, not, so much people, but the education to start producing now.
Anyone who has witnessed the labor involved in producing an iDevice would wonder just how much education is necessary. Williams asked Cook how we get that back, and Cook replied:
It's a concerted effort to get them [jobs] back, and this project that I've talked about where we'll do a Mac in the United States next year, I think this is a really good 'nother step for us.

The consumer electronics world was really never here. It's not a matter of bringing it back; it’s a matter of starting it here.
When thinking about Cook's statements, and relating them to things known about its manufacturing partners in China -- even with improved worker conditions -- his statements are really a lot of PR. Foxconn has extremely harsh conditions, but of course, workers can only (insert sarcasm here) work a certain amount of overtime, and for wages that would not be livable in the U.S.

In addition, one thing Tim Cook says seems blatantly outrageous. He claimed that "the engine" of the iPhone was made in the U.S. What engine is he speaking of? The engine that techies are aware of is the A6 processor, which is made by Samsung, and not in the U.S.

"Rock Center" airs tonight on NBC at 10 p.m. EST / PST and 9 p.m. CST.

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