Monday, December 10, 2012

Apple’s Plans for U.S. Manufacturing

Apple is saying it will build some of its future computers in the United States. To people who only know the recent history of Apple and the computer business, this might seem a radical new innovation. In fact, though, Apple’s products were predominantly made in the United States until about a decade ago, and trends suggest that U.S. manufacturing will become important again in the future. China might be dominant in high-volume high-tech manufacturing right now, but economists are saying that wage trends and transportation cost trends will probably return an enormous amount of manufacturing work to North America and Europe within the next decade. Apple has a history of getting ahead of trends that it sees as an advantage to its products and operations, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if Apple is ahead of the pack on this trend too. Given the importance of transportation expenses, it makes sense that the new U.S. factories would start with the larger and heavier products that are sold in the United States, that is, with computers and video displays rather than iPods.