Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the company will invest over $100 million to bring some of its Mac production back to the United States in 2013. At least one model will be made exclusively in the U.S., Cook revealed during an interview on NBC’s Rock Center, though he wouldn’t reveal which model that would be.
“We’ve been working for years on doing more and more in the United States,” Cook told Rock Center’s Brian Williams. And the changes are already happening, of course. Earlier this week, Cult of Mac reported that some of Apple’s new iMacs are already be assembled on its home turf, rather than in China.
Cook did not reveal where exactly production would happen, but in a separate interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, he did say that Apple would not be assembling the machines itself. Instead, it will strike partnerships with local businesses who will take over some of the work that’s been almost exclusive to Foxconn in recent years.
Even so, Apple’s move will create jobs in the U.S. is something the company is passionate about: “When you back up and look at Apple’s effect on job creation in the United States, we estimate that we’ve created more than 600,000 jobs now,” Cook told Williams.
Apple won’t just take over assembly, either — it actually wants to do something “more substantial” and play a bigger part in production, and the company will invest plenty of money to make it happen.
“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,” Cook said.
So why doesn’t Apple just go the whole way and bring all of its production over the U.S.? You might think it’s because of the price of U.S. labor versus that of Chinese labor. But that’s not entirely correct.
“It’s not so much about price, it’s about the skills,” Cook told Williams. He believes that the U.S. educational system is failing to produce enough people with the skills needed for modern manufacturing processes. However, he’s hoping that Apple’s new Mac project will encourage other companies to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., too.
“The consumer electronics world was really never here,” Cook said. “It’s a matter of starting it here.”
What would Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and former CEO, think of this? Well, it doesn’t really matter. Before he passed away in October 2011, Jobs taught Cook to do what he felt was right, and not “what Steve would do.”
“I loved Steve dearly, and miss him dearly,” Cook told Williams. “And one of the things he did for me, that removed a gigantic burden that would have normally existed, is he told me, on a couple of occasions before he passed away, to never question what he would have done. Never ask the question, ‘What Steve would do,’ to just do what’s right.”.