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Apple Marks Some New iMacs as Assembled in the USA

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News Posted: Mon, Dec 3 2012 9:02 AM
The nimble fingered folks at iFixIt got their mitts on one of Apple's refreshed iMac models, so naturally the first thing they did was put it on the operating table for a full dissection. Before cracking the 21.5-inch iMac open, however, they discovered an interesting tidbit. On the back, sitting below the FCC stamp and various other certifications, it says that this particular model was "Assembled in USA."

Apple isn't moving its manufacturing operations to the U.S. entirely, because if the company did that, you can bet there would be plenty of fanfare and ballyhooing coming from Cupertino. But the real reason we know this is because there are new iMacs in the wild that still say "Made in China," as they usually do.

iMac USA
Image Source: iFixIt

Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) does the bulk of manufacturing for Apple products. At times, that's been a black eye for Apple amid reports of poor working conditions and, for awhile, frequent employee suicides. Still, it's far cheaper to produce these items in China than it is stateside, though interestingly, it was recently reported that Foxconn was mulling over the idea of opening a manufacturing plant in the U.S.

iMac Open

Regardless of where the iMac is assembled, it's apparently a pain in the backside to service. iFixIt gave it a low 3/10 Repairability Score, where the higher the score, the easier it is to open and repair or replace parts at home. Some of the factors that led to the low score include the glass and LCD being fused together, replaceable components (like RAM) sitting inconveniently behind the logic board, and the inability to add a second hard drive to the base model unless you're super talented at soldering.
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sackyhack replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 10:00 AM

More power to them. I'm not naive, I know it's simply cheaper to build things overseas and that won't change any time soon. But I was directly involved in a transfer project at my company where I ahd to help ship several product lines to a plant in Costa Rica, and it was devastating both for the people losing their jobs and the low level engineers like me who had to help expedite it. The less it happens the better.

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physical replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 10:26 AM

Assembled in the USA doesn't necessarily mean the system wasn't assembled in China.

Many years ago I worked at Gateway. Most of the assembly work was done in Mexico, but the machines were shipped back to the US without operating system. Then, the operating system was installed and a "Made in the USA" sticker was attached to the back of the case.

The way I understood it, if the last steps of the assembly process occur in the US, it is valid to stick "Made in USA" on it. Gateway didn't do this for every computer, just the ones they sold on Government contracts which required "Made In USA" on their equipment. (I do not know if Government contracts still require this... it was many many years ago since I've worked in that field)

Even if these systems were completely assembled in the USA, they are still manufactured by Foxconn in China. Until companies start sourcing their parts from American electronics makers, "Made in USA" is just a sleight of hand.

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Dorkstar replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 12:42 PM

physical:

Assembled in the USA doesn't necessarily mean the system wasn't assembled in China.

Many years ago I worked at Gateway. Most of the assembly work was done in Mexico, but the machines were shipped back to the US without operating system. Then, the operating system was installed and a "Made in the USA" sticker was attached to the back of the case.

The way I understood it, if the last steps of the assembly process occur in the US, it is valid to stick "Made in USA" on it. Gateway didn't do this for every computer, just the ones they sold on Government contracts which required "Made In USA" on their equipment. (I do not know if Government contracts still require this... it was many many years ago since I've worked in that field)

Even if these systems were completely assembled in the USA, they are still manufactured by Foxconn in China. Until companies start sourcing their parts from American electronics makers, "Made in USA" is just a sleight of hand.

What?!  Man, that's interesting, and you know they probably mentioned it during every sells pitch.  "Well our computers are built here in the USA!"

 

On to the article though.  I still can't believe people pay for these kind of things.  I've had argument after argument with people who believe their all-in-one computer is going to last forever, because it's so good.  Didn't Steve Jobs say something along the lines of "Why would you ever need more than 8mb of memory?"  

 

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OSunday replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 8:29 PM

iMac's in all their overpriced, underpowered unfixable glory...

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