Most of Your iPhone is Actually Made in the US

By , Feb 1, 2012

Last week, The New York Times ran a controversial piece on the poor working conditions inside the factories of Apple’s supply chain. The report detailed awful labor practices including mandatory 60+ work weeks and hazardous working environments.

One of the many questions that arose in the wake of the article is, “why doesn’t Apple just make its products here in the USA?” That would mean more jobs for Americans, and labor laws to protect the workers. But what many folks don’t realize is that a lot of Apple’s handset is already made in the US…

Forbes reports:

“A report written by three U.S. professors showed that only about “$10 or less in direct labor wages goes into an iPhone or iPad is paid to Chinese workers.” The report points out that while Apple products — including components — are manufactured in China, the primary benefits go to the U.S. economy because Apple continues to keep most of its product design, software development, product management, marketing and other high-wage functions in the U.S., not China. China’s role is more of an assembler.”

Apple has a long list of people on its payroll that work directly on the iPhone. From top designers like Jony Ive and Scott Forstall, all the way down to low-level engineers and programmers, thousands of people have a hand in creating the popular handset. In the grand scheme of things, iPhone assembly — while obviously vital to the device’s existence — is just a small piece of what makes up the pie.

And the fact of the matter is that labor has been, and for the foreseeable future will be, cheaper in China than in the US. The United States has laws like minimum wage and organizations like OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) that would drive up Apple’s costs substantially. It’s sad, but it’s true.

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  • http://rhftech.com RichardFrisch

    The phone may be designed in the US but the actual phone is made in China. Your headline and conclusions are wrong. We should not allow slave or abused labor on products sold in the United States.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/DXQQP3XQ5DPW5D2D6F3CT3VB54 mark

      so u mean in other countries it is “ok” ?

      • Anonymous

        No he does not mean it is ok, but what are we supposed to do about slave labor in china? Bomb them?

      • Anonymous

        Where did you go to school?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=610846931 Francisco Lacoste

        well… you bombed, Iraq and afganistan… you could do that on china… Another solution is to make the iphone on the US, make it more expensive and pay a good salary to the workers…

        and if you don´t want to apple slave people… stop buying apple products. it´s simpler as that

      • Anonymous

        @francisco lacoste

        So it is ok for HP, Dell, Microsoft, etc to use slaves to make their products?

        Your iHate clearly showed its head.

    • Emre SÜMENGEN

      Interesting… And, somewhat true… But, then you (US) should stop pumping the world with liberal economics… As easy as that.

      I wonder who remembers that while voting!

    • Jon Garrett

      +1

      and 7 stories down reads an article titled “Foxconn Planning to Build Five Factories in Brazil to Keep Up With Apple Demand”

      lmao

  • Anonymous

    so true. btw his name is Jony Ive

    • Anonymous

      Don’t be deceived you fool, it’s made in china. It’s designed in California but its made in China.

      • Anonymous

        i could care less.

      • http://twitter.com/binarydivided Filip Langer

        U know what? I don’t care. I don’t live in the US and I couldn’t care less if it’s made in China, US, or Brazil. I’d actually rather give the jobs to a developing country like Brazil than the US.

  • http://twitter.com/Yodiggity777 yodiggity777

    Whatever you just wrote that comment with was assembled in china! Not the US!!!

    Hypocrite!!!!!!!!
    Go Troll elsewhere!

  • Anonymous

    In other words Apple is more interested in amassing huge profits than subjecting itself to paying decent wages to employees in the United States. This story has legs and the negative connotation may come back to bite them in the behind.

    • Emre SÜMENGEN

      Did you really think otherwise? I mean, did you, at any point in time, think Apple did what they did to make the world a better place for everybody? I’ll tell you what: NO!

      If that happens, well, perfect. But the primary aim is (and would be, for any sane corporation or trading organization) to MAKE MORE PROFIT.

      Believe me, any and all corporations are the same. I really doubt HTC or Samsung has different production strategies…

      • Anonymous

        Yes, Apple–and every other company– is interested in profits, but they are also interested in:
        1. High quality manufacturing
        2. High capacity manufacturing
        3. Simple, yet high volume supply chain
        4. Huge pool of engineers
        5. All of the above in a centralized location.

        China has invested in this kind of infrastructure for 20 years.

        Americans need to:
        1. Give foreign engineers green cards when they graduate
        2. Be willing to have a factory city in their back yard.
        3. Get the government to streamline environmental and tax law.
        4. Give tax breaks for businesses willing to take risks, but not hand out silly loans.
        5. Build a culture where achievement in science and engineering is rewarded and encouraged as much or more than High School or College football.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2JFDZXSTUH2HWGIM6NSZX66KWA Kurt

    designed in america yet MILLIONS and millions and MILLIONS and millions of parts and phones manufactured else where.

    now, how is that most of the iphone is made in america? get real

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/DXQQP3XQ5DPW5D2D6F3CT3VB54 mark

      title should be “iphone’s contribution to economy”

  • Anonymous

    This title is VERY misleading. It only let outsiders show how biased iDB is actually. Makes other apple fanboys look kind of bad on themselves.

    • Anonymous

      I’m pretty sure some of these writers masturbate to the Apple logo every morning

      • Anonymous

        Interesting, so which logo domyou masturbate to every morning perhaps google or microsoft.

      • Anonymous

        No logo, just your mother

  • Anonymous

    Misleading headline. Maybe designed in US, but the story fails to show that even one component is MADE in the US.

    • Tomaz Tadeu

      Bingo!

  • Anonymous

    Cody trying hard but failing to distort reality with this article. The headline is seriously misleading.

  • O. Bakerman

    Not sure if serious or just trolling

    …or plain stupid

  • Anonymous

    Kinda off topic, but since this is the latest post, I wanted to ask it here:

    I will restore to 5.0.1 to see if it fixes my battery issues (preserving BB 2.10.04).
    1. Does redsn0w 9.10b1 update your baseband in the process of jailbreaking?
    2. Will the same version hacktivate?
    3. Does it automatically detect FW (on windows)?

    Thanks, and sorry for going back to my “Jailbreak Q&A” days. (please don’t delete my comment, iDB)

    • Emre SÜMENGEN

      LOL, that’s not “kinda off topic”, but rather “way off topic” :)

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for your answer! NOW I know what to do! -.-

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001783517599 Gregory D Foster

    Apple could have everything done in the U.S. and sell the products for the same price. they would ultimately, obviously, make less in profits. But that’s the game we’re in here in the U.S. now, profits trump humanity.

    • Anonymous

      Not even the glass could be made in the US. Manufacturing left 30 years ago, long before iPhone appeared.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001783517599 Gregory D Foster

        i’m aware of the manufacturing crisis in the country but if Gorilla glass can be made in the U.S., I’m sure Apple could find a way. If Toyota and Nissan can invest in building manufacturing plants here, I think so too can Apple.

      • Yacko

        From Wikipedia:

        “Corning manufactures Gorilla Glass in Harrodsburg, Kentucky (USA) and in Shizuoka (Japan).”

    • Yacko

      A bold statement. So, you have inside Apple financial information and you have spreadsheeted it and used cost analysis methods and have come to that conclusion. Please share that knowledge.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001783517599 Gregory D Foster

        you don’t need inside financial information, its a publicly run company. any company in this country could have all of their manufacturing done here with decreased profits but that obviously goes against the main premise of a publicly run company which is higher profits year after year. i’m not against companies making money or having higher profits year after year but the fact of the matter is, this is the discussion we’re having right now and the question becomes: is it right for corporations to enlist slave labor in other countries simply because they don’t want to pay a livable wage in their own country? no, corporations don’t want to pay a livable wage, laying people off is the new, easiest and most effective way to increase profits. bottom line is this is ALL about profits. they (not Apple) have lobbyists trying to abolish the minimum wage to increase profits. This is not just a problem with Apple, it’s a problem with ALL of the companies that insist on offshoring their manufacturing.

  • http://twitter.com/GuyBey0ndC00L eDDie

    First I’m not a Apple Fanboy, moving on. This Story targets Apple only because Apple makes more money than our one US Government. True it is iPhone Blog but that’s besides the point.  Truth is just about everything these days in MADE IN CHINA. President Obama, ask Steve Jobs – is there any change of building the Apple products in the USA. Steve Jobs Replies – those type of jobs are NEVER coming back to the us. China own Government is to blame not USA. We have labor laws they don’t. Android phones deal with the same mess. I own a iPhone 4S & I’m a PC. 

    • Anonymous

      How is it like, you know, to be a PC?

      • Anonymous

        I see what you did there.

      • Anonymous

        Or did you? :O

  • http://twitter.com/vantheman169 vantheman420

    We already knew the iPhone and other iDevices were designed in America……….

  • Anonymous

    Where are the parts created? Where is it assembled? Where is it designed? Where is it sold? Where are the machine tools built? The optics? The Chips? The sensors? The software? Where are the stores built? Where are the materials for the stores built?

    Seems like everyone is getting a piece of this enterprise.

  • Emre SÜMENGEN

    Sorry Cody, but this is really irrelevant… I mean, how can “Why don’t Apple move it’s production chain to US” be answered with a “Apple doesn’t really pay much to the overseas-people”…

    I don’t think any wise company would want to do production locally as long as those cheap workhouse countries exist, and that’s not something to be ashamed of.

    • Emre SÜMENGEN

  • http://twitter.com/dmkraig Donald Michael Kraig

    1) What an incredibly false and misleading headline! Even within the article it says that Apple products are manufactured (i.e., made) in China. An accurate headline would have been “Most of Your iPhone is DESIGNED in the US, but everyone already knows that and it wouldn’t have been news.

    2) This article, while attempting to defend Apple, actually still focuses on Apple as the source of all evil. In fact, about half of the world’s electronics is assembled by Foxconn, including products from Microsoft, Dell, Sony, and HP. Apple is merely one client of Foxconn, and if someone is attacking Apple for using them, they should attack all of the others, too.

    3) While costs do add up, the NYT reported it would only add about $60 per iPhone. Considering the hundreds of billions Apple earns, they could easily absorb these costs and still make huge profits.

    4) Your final paragraph is typical right-wing, corporatist, undemocratic and unAmerican propaganda. You falsely claim that the problem is such terrible things as minimum wage and requirements for safe working conditions. Really? Is that what you want to stand on? If we lowered American salaries and benefits so that families would have to live in tents and lowered safety standards so that people would be dying just to work, things would be better? How about simply returning to one of the studied methods that helped America to develop a once-strong middle class and become a financial superpower: protect OUR workers. Put an import duty on all products brought into the U.S. that have been assembled outside of the U.S. equal to the amount companies would not pay by using inexpensive or slave labor. It would return jobs to America, raise our standard of living, empower the middle class, encourage higher wages and higher standards of living around the world and help pay off the national debt while lowering taxes.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2JFDZXSTUH2HWGIM6NSZX66KWA Kurt

      its the left wingers who worship apple and steve jobs. get educated bud

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001783517599 Gregory D Foster

      exactly the point i attempted to make above, these guys (apple included) could easily have sustainable profits year after year if they manufactured in America. but they choose not to because as i said, profits trump humanity for all publicly run corporations and if enlisting slave labor is key to higher profits, then thats what they’ll do. thank you for your INTELLIGENT and PATRIOTIC input. Well said sir!

    • Anonymous

      *claps until hands fall off*

  • Imahottguy

    So the software is designed in the US, big whoop. What is sad is that rather than pay decent wages, treat employees like human beings and set an example, Apple cares about nothing more than amassing the most amount of cash. I understand that Apple is a for-profit business, and they have every right to care only about their bottom line. However, they have grown to be larger than life, with stock piles of cash and a rep like no other company. Obviously they are making quite a bit of money from iDevice sales, so could they not bring even some of the manufacturing process to the country that they so proudly design the device in? Apple is not to blame for the lack of manufacturing jobs in the US, nor are they to blame for everything being made in China these days. They are responsible for people making less than $20/day 60 (maybe even more!) hours a week in factories that assemble their products.

    I like their products, I am typing this on my MacBook and I own several iOS devices and iPods. The problem is that this information will not stop consumers from purchasing stock or products from Apple…

  • Anonymous

    america thinks it can fix everyone and everything. well u cant. u dont live in china, u dont know how it is there. people line up for jobs, guess its better than the alternative. Afghanistan, Iraq, now this. Better believe the US gov wont do a damn thing about China or its working condition. Like the US doesnt have problems of its own. Even the forefathers were against getting into other peoples business. U dont like it, then dont buy it. but u still will though. i know i will. but dont just stop at apple/foxconn, keep going; soon you’ll be living in a cave. all the pleasures the US has, better believe it comes from the hard unfair under paid work of people over seas. And you thought what? thats what i thought. shut your mouths self righteous fools. this is in no way anti US, this includes all people who are blind to the real facts, the fact that its all around you and everything you buy; here in Europe or in the US!

  • Anonymous

    Ha! This was a good one, Cody! If we were to depend on lazy Americans to make our iPhones, I don’t think we would be having them today. But it was a nice try, Cody!

    It is way too easy to sit in a office with air conditioner, and take credit for the stuff people in other countries are doing in lamentable working conditions.

  • Tomaz Tadeu

    The Forbes quote does not corroborate the headline. What a shame! The quote says one thing, the headline another.

  • Tomaz Tadeu

    That little stamp over the iPhone is even more pathetic than the (already pahetic) text.

  • Anonymous

    “Proudly made in the USA”?

    I don’t wanna live on this planet anymore…

  • Anonymous

    Cody, it seems that you had never put your hands on an Apple device.
    If you had, you would see:

    “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China”

    Your article is already written in milions of Apple devices around the World……

  • Anonymous

    Funny thing, just received an email from Change.org, which I’m suscribed to.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/apple-ceo-tim-cook-protect-workers-making-iphones-in-chinese-factories?utm_medium=email&utm_source=action_alert

    Yeah, Americans TOTALLY work their asses off making the iPhone.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SR4X3RKDTEBZ7CQYSCCAUQUF4A Vincent

    Final conclusion it’s garbage. There’s a reason why OSHA exist as well as minimum wage. You should keep inside your house writing here or bloging because it doesn’t require to have OSHA or a minimum wage, and also it doesn’t require a degree and for what I see you don’t have. So keep it simple stay at your house copying the info you post here from other web pages that people with degrees wrote.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001783517599 Gregory D Foster

      oooooh. that was mean vincent.

  • http://twitter.com/xdracco Obi Juan

    Interesting.. “The report points out that while Apple products — including components — are manufactured in China, …”

    so, which parts, exactly, are made in the US?

  • gypsyboys911

    cool story bro

  • ytman

    Its such a shame that the US has standard of living laws and safety regulations for occupational workers here that protect our citizens.

    No. Its a shame that a US company would rather siphon all the wealth of their company either directly to their wallets or to China. Making a phone in the US could be done, it wouldn’t .

    What is terrible is that the people who are in charge of making a product will never be able to buy what they make and gain little to no profit from their hard labor which earns the people at the top millions of dollars.