It has come to the attention of many high-profile journalists this week that Apple’s new razor-thin iMac, (which went on sale officially, last Friday), may, in fact, be one of the first products the company has shipped that has been assembled on its home turf in the USA.
The term was first spotted as being etched onto the back of what would appear to be Apple’s standard 21.5-inch model of the all-in-one, which iFixit recently tore down, and has also been spotted by a number of customers on Apple’s official community forums.
One customer who recently purchased a 27″ iMac refurb, writes:
The box my new iMac came in had a sticker that said “Assembled in America”. Does that mean that this iMac was made in the U.S, or was it just the actual box that was “Assembled in America”.
I was under the impression that Apple made all of there products in China.
9to5Mac suggests that, because the FTC requires that “substantial transformation” is performed to any product before it qualifies for an “Assembled” label, there must be more to the story here.
A product that includes foreign components may be called “Assembled in USA” without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial. For the “assembly” claim to be valid, the product’s last “substantial transformation” also should have occurred in the U.S. That’s why a “screwdriver” assembly in the U.S. of foreign components into a final product at the end of the manufacturing process doesn’t usually qualify for the “Assembled in USA” claim.
Example: A lawn mower, composed of all domestic parts except for the cable sheathing, flywheel, wheel rims and air filter (15 to 20 percent foreign content) is assembled in the U.S. An “Assembled in USA” claim is appropriate.
In terms of computer manufacture, the FCC is crystal clear:
All the major components of a computer, including the motherboard and hard drive, are imported. The computer’s components then are put together in a simple “screwdriver” operation in the U.S., are not substantially transformed under the Customs Standard, and must be marked with a foreign country of origin. An “Assembled in U.S.” claim without further qualification is deceptive.
The question is: Does Apple actually have manufacturing operations in the U.S? … Or, is it using this “Assembled in USA” certification deceptively, just as it was allegedly found to be doing in Australia with its claim of the “4G” networking contained in its “Retina” iPad?
Interestingly, Foxconn – (Apple’s Far Eastern manufacturing partner) – would appear to have an Austin, TX address. Meanwhile, Business Journals reports that Apple’s 20-acre campus up in Elk Grove, Cupertino – (which it is noted has been in operation for the best part of 20-years now) – has recently seen a spike in its employee workforce headcount, although it is highlighted that Apple has not yet listed a single job position which is relating to, (or that can be associated with), the process of manufacturing.