Why Aren’t Apple Products Made in America?
As recently as 2002, most of Apple’s products were manufactured in the USA. What happened? Why is nearly everything, from Macs to iPhones, made in China now? The New York Times provides an in depth report on Apple’s move overseas, and it’s not as simple as you might think.
It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.
If you enjoyed the “Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory” podcast, you’ll probably enjoy reading this too, as it sheds some light on the business decisions driving factories like Foxconn. Here’s an example on the challenge Apple faced when hiring skilled engineers in the USA vs China:
Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States. In China, it took 15 days.
The lengthy read also includes several anecdotes about Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, as well as plenty of quotes from other unspecified current and former Apple executives. If you’re interested in Apple and Apple history, don’t miss it.