In a recent report from the New York Times, the newspaper gives us great detail about why Apple outsources iPhone manufacturing to China, and how Steve Jobs changed the iPhone 2G weeks before the release.

The report features many short stories from Apple employees who give first-hand accounts of why Apple decided to move their manufacturing overseas. The article also gives a very interesting look of President Obama’s Silicon Valley Dinner back in February of last year . At the dinner, many Silicon Valley executives attended, including Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

Many executives were able to ask President Obama questions. While Steve Jobs was talking, President Obama interrupted him and asked him “what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?” Steve Jobs simply replied with “Those jobs aren’t coming back”.

The article also goes in depth about how weeks before the iPhone 2G was supposed to release, Steve Jobs had the screen changed from plastic to glass:

In 2007, a little over a month before the iPhone was scheduled to appear in stores, Mr. Jobs beckoned a handful of lieutenants into an office. For weeks, he had been carrying a prototype of the device in his pocket.

Mr. Jobs angrily held up his iPhone, angling it so everyone could see the dozens of tiny scratches marring its plastic screen, according to someone who attended the meeting. He then pulled his keys from his jeans.

People will carry this phone in their pocket, he said. People also carry their keys in their pocket. “I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” he said tensely. The only solution was using unscratchable glass instead. “I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks.”

Most of us probably already know why Apple outsources their manufacturing. Money. Not only is it cheaper to outsource to China, you can also hire workers much faster than in the US. Jennifer Rigoni, Apple’s former Worlwide Supply Demand Manager said “They could hire 3,000 people overnight. What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”.

“The entire supply chain is in China now,” said another former high-ranking Apple executive. “You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.”

The article overall gives a good look at why Apple decides to manufacture their products in China. You can check the full 7-page report over at the NY Times.

[The New York Times]

  • If you have a company you want your products your buying at cost and if a company can deliver at cost these company’s will always get the work …what is not taken in to account is what the people making these parts have to go though….
    But apple are not the only ones doing this..and if the surpplier is willing to cut costs and pay low to there works its alway going to be cheaper to out source to other countries…
    Would you be willing to go to work and get paid what some of these workers are getting paid…no …and that’s why it goes overseas to the cheapest supplier..
    Just think how much apple would loose on the cost of idevice..or how much would they charge you for it…
    In fact they would loose at all…they just wouldn’t get as much….

  • Time for some good ol import tariffs, then we’ll see if it’s worth it to hire slaves in China. Tim cook made 223 million last year, but he can’t afford to hire the same people that buy his products. Keep exporting manufacturing and there won’t be anyone with a job to buy your product. Not to mention from a national security standpoint, not a bright idea to outsource all manufacturing.

    • Jon Garrett

      how many apple products do you own?

  • great video! and i agree with it almost 100%

  • Why is it cheaper to manufacture in China?? They don’t have all the draconian taxes and regulations that cripple businesses ability to pay a higher wage and just do it here. They leave out that part where Jobs pointed this out to Obama and said he was on track to being a one term President if he does get proactive in fostering a much more business friendly attitude. Oh and it can be done without terrible conditions for workers, that’s because almost all other advanced countries can do it without outsourcing at the same rate as us.

    • Taxes and regulations DO NOT cripple businesses, the need for excessive and ever increasing profits is the reason these guys decide to send manufacturing overseas. As Zech points out, there is no way you can wake any American up at 3am (never mind 3,000) and have them begin building a product in the middle of the night. These people want slaves and that’s what they have. Companies have a right to make a profit, nobody is disputing that, but this idea of ever increasing profits is what’s killing the American workforce.

    • Jon Garrett

      which crippling regulations are you talking about? the ones that limit us to 8hr shifts, the ones against using 10 year olds? the ones that protect our environment? the ones that make sure the products you buy are safe to use?

      draconian taxes? now I know for sure you get your information from fox “news”. corporate taxes are the lowest they’ve been in decades, oil companies reap record profits AND still get tax payer subsidies and companies like GE can pay ZERO taxes and still manage to get a 5 billion dollar tax refund !!!

      • i used to hit like to your comments even before reading some of them. fox news, is the the best news agency out there. it’s slated to the right since the hosts are conservative,but they bring on liberals as for a counter argument. this doesn’t happen as often on your liberal crap fake”news” programming. your liberal news is awful.

      • Half Fast

        would you like a cookie with your Kool-Aid?

      • Half Fast

        Another key point which makes it difficult to compete with the Chinese (Koreans, etc) is they don’t subscribe to any environmental regulations. They dump highly toxic chemicals into the ground, streams etc which is a huge expense for US companies to dispose of responsibly.

  • Fuck Steve jobs I’m glad you are burning in hell for all eternity!!!!

  • We should hire you as an Editor!

    • David Renicks

      Sarcasm? It’s hard to tell on the Internet.

    • KewlDewd

      As this site gets more popular it’s becoming more and more apparent that you are in need of an editor. It would make it easier to read and take seriously. It seems like every article has some combination of misspellings, bad grammar, and misused clichés. I like the content which is why I come back, but the grammar can be pretty rough.

      Sorry, I try not to rant too much about grammar, but the internet seems to be slowly killing the English language…along with other languages I’m sure.

    • I was thinking the same thing as Dave 🙂 I’ll be your editor!

  • wat’s the fuss about? if apple didnt make pdts in china…..US and worldwide would nt have their pdts in the first place….and prices will most probably be priced out of the market…..i believe in china, just pay more, and you will get more from suppliers / workers……in US? no offence, but you want ppl to work more than XX hrs? like in europe, think ppl will protest….want to retire early with pensions…this and that…….it makes more sense……keeping up the demand for their pdts also helps to keep apple jobs in US……ppl often miss that point….

  • lol i dont trust auto assembly machines

  • lol i dont trust auto assembly machines

  • Good!!!

  • Anonymous

    I’m blocking this crap site from my Zite. No such thing as iPhone 2G – the second gen iPhone was called “iPhone 3G.” the one before that was just “iPhone.”

    Bad writing. Bad editing. This is just a link bait site with crap summaries.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, the first one was called iPhone. But if they used iPhone alone, it might not be clear that that they were referring to the first one and not the phone in general.
      Relax buddy. Get off your high horse.

  • I don’t understand Americans who feel the need to care or be sympathetic towards third world country labor laws. Those people are making money, they are working for a living and feeding their families. More than half of Americans live on welfare and don’t work yet bitch and moan about how bad they’ve got it.

  • Marlber Cruz

    Does anyone know where I can find the video that was on this article?