Apple Insider reports that some of Apple’s new iMacs are marked as having been “Assembled in USA”.
How many iMacs does this apply to? We don’t know. But what does it mean, exactly? More than you might think. The requirements for a product to sport this statement are rather strict:
Assembled in USA Claims
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.
Example: 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.
This suggests that a moderate to large amount of assembly is taking place in the US.
Tim Cook has talked in the past about his desire to have more Apple products made in America. From a transcription of Cook’s interview at the All Things Digital conference earlier this year:
Walt Mossberg: “There’s been a lot of talk recently about reviving manufacturing here in the US. […] You’re probably the most influential company in technology, and you’re an operations expert — will there be an Apple product ever made again in America?”
Tim Cook: “I want there to be! I want there to be!” [T]here’s an intense focus on the final assembly. Could that be done in the U.S.? I sure hope so. But look, how many tool-and-die makers do you know in America?”
”We will do as many of these things [in the US] as we can do, and you can bet that we’ll use the whole of our influence to do this.”
Looks like his wishes are coming true. He certainly has the influence.