Science

Lone Star State To Manufacture New Macs

By Michael Mayday , May 22, 2013 03:48 PM EDT

When Apple CEO Tim Cook went before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to answer questions on Apple's tax policy, he revealed something that both political wonks and fans of the company have been wondering since December: where and what line is Apple planning to manufacture in the U.S.

The answer to the latter: a few places.

The still unknown Mac line will ultimately be manufactured in Texas, Cook said on Tuesday, though components will also be made in Illinois and Florida. Additionally, he said, the Mac line will rely on equipment created in Kentucky and Michigan.

That's great news for the Midwest, which has been hit with a historic manufacturing slump.

The deal will likely have Apple repeating its manufacturing modus operandi: work closely with manufacturing partners to create Apple products. There is a list of potential manufacturing candidates in Texas, though one, according to AllThingsD, stands out above the rest: Foxconn.

While the evidence is purely circumstantial, it makes sense. Apple has often worked with Foxconn –– even after a rash of suicides in 2010 drew attention to working conditions at Foxconn's Shenzhen, China factory –– and is currently constructing a new campus in Austin, Texas. Foxconn, too, has a plant in Texas which has long produced Apple products, and the manufacturing company recently announced that it'll be expanding that plant to meet the needs of an unnamed customer.

Does this mean that Apple will bring more manufacturing, especially for high-demand products like the iPhone, back to the U.S.? Not likely, though it does suggest Apple is at least testing the waters.

"If Apple were to move production of any of its product lines back into the country's borders, it makes sense to start with Macs-they still sell well, but compared to the iPhone and iPad they make up a relatively small portion of Apple's sales, and Apple has less to lose if there are hiccups," Ars Technica's Andrew Cunningham said.

"We're investing $100 million to build a Mac product line here in the U.S.," Cook said during his grilling. Soon we'll see if U.S. manufacturing is up to the task.

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