Apple surprised a number of people when it announced this past summer that its high-end Mac Pro would be assembled in the U.S. However, despite this gesture of confidence in American manufacturing, few expect this move to drastically change the global supply chain. The Mac Pro is a high-end niche device that costs at least $3,000. The few additional manufacturing jobs that will be created by this move will do little to make up for all the outsourcing that has occurred in the past several decades.
But what if Apple took a bolder step in that direction and started building one of its most popular devices in this country? Could the iPhone ever be made in America?
It is not entirely out of the question, especially when you look at the rest of the smartphone industry. For example, one of the latest Android phone models, the Motorola Moto X, is assembled in Texas. That fact prompted Governor Rick Perry to throw his iPhone on the ground and accept a custom Moto X during a recent tour of the plant.
Unwired View contributor Vlad Bobleanta argues that such a strategy could work for Apple as well.
"The company wants to look to the US in part because of the Obama administration's focus on 'bringing back manufacturing jobs' to the country, but also because of the highly skilled workforce it could find over there," he writes. "The continuously growing wages and lack of skilled workers are the two main problems it's identified in Asia. And the even bigger wages that American workers will demand could be offset by using highly automated production tools—thus achieving the same production numbers as in China with much fewer workers employed. Furthermore, stuff made in the USA and sold there would not have any costs associated with imports."
Many companies are finding that outsourcing IT and manufacturing is no longer palatable to the average American consumer. Perhaps, with its impressive profit margins, Apple will make that calculated decision.