Apple to spend $100M on US-made iMac, Foxconn expanding US manufacturing

Next year’s Apple iMac may be assembled , as well as designed in the United States. The computer maker plans to spend $100 million in 2013 returning some U.S. manufacturing jobs home from China, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview. Apple’s largest manufacturing partner in China also said it is considering moving some jobs to U.S. plants. In magazine and television interviews, Cook emphasized he plans to bring “some production” of “one of our existing Mac lines” to the United States. Although the statements lacked specifics, the Apple chief suggested the 2013 move would be more than simply assembling Macs…

In a Bloomberg Businessweek interview, Cook said his company will spend more than $100 million in 2013 to bring production of a Mac back to the US.

Next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac. We’ve been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We’re really proud of it.

We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it’s broader because we wanted to do something more substantial. So we’ll literally invest over $100 million. This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people, and we’ll be investing our money.

Reports have suggested some new iMacs are now being made in the U.S., shipping from Fremont, California where Apple in the 1990s was building Macs before it outsourced manufacturing to China.

Cook also hinted the return of jobs would go beyond assembling devices, which for some time has been done in China by Foxconn.

Image via 9to5Mac

Many parts for Apple devices are already designed and made in the United States, like the Gorilla Glass made by Corning in its Kentucky plant and mobile processors for iPhone, iPads and iPods which are being manufactured by Samsung in its multi-billion dollar facility in Austin, Texas.

A Foxconn spokesman confirmed it is looking into “doing more manufacturing in the US”.

The company has plants in California and Texas.

The firm’s chairman, Terry Gou, told Bloomberg that the “supply chain is one of the biggest challenges”.

Gou wants to train U.S. engineers in Asia on manufacturing practices. According to the Foxconn exec, the U.S. has “high-value engineering talent” while China possesses “low-cost labor”.

A Foxconn spokesperson said this:

We are looking at doing more manufacturing in the U.S. because, in general, customers want more to be done there.

The spokesperson declined to comment on individual clients or specific plans.

While unclear just how extensive is Apple’s “made in America” push, Cook is apparently feeling the company needs to support a robust US workforce. Cook was among a number of corporate executives U.S. President Barack Obama recently consulted with concerning the ongoing “fiscal cliff” negotiations in Washington.

Apple is known for running a tight bottom-line, repeatedly announcing high profits due partially to outsourcing device assembly to China.

One of the ways Apple has kept product costs down is centering assembly and some component manufacturing in Asia, where payrolls are low. Because of suppliers being near the assembly line, transportation costs and other fees associated with moving products great distances are kept at a minimum.

It is unknown whether Apple can retain its envious profit margin with higher ways Americans are accustom.

Is Apple prepared to return its manufacturing to the US, or are these comments simply designed to defuse concern on Wall Street?