DigiTimes rumor: Apple to produce Mac Mini desktops in the U.S.

Summary:According to an online report, the Mac Mini, and not the Mac Pro, will be the first Apple computer to be produced as part of the company's return to U.S. manufacturing. Would that make sense for Apple?

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Despite the late Steve Jobs' claims that lost manufacturing jobs weren't returning to the United States, Apple recently announced that it was indeed bringing production of some of its computers back home . While there are already some parts being produced in the U.S. -- like the Samsung chips used for iPhones and iPads --  Apple CEO Tim Cook claims that he wants to do more than just "assemble" Macs here. Hardware partner Foxconn is supposedly preparing for the shift by ramping up hiring for its U.S. plants.

So which Mac lines does Apple want to produce here? Everyone's first guess seems to be the Mac Pro, which hasn't been given a full refresh in some time, and which ZDNet's own David Morgenstern thinks could handle any additional production costs of U.S. manufacturing thanks to its already premium pricing.

But a new report from DigiTimes contends that the Mac Mini will be the first Apple computer to see its production line return to the U.S. As usual, DigiTimes cites unnamed sources in the "upstream supply chain" as the genesis for its story, and given the site's spotty record for accuracy, its reporting is to be taken with a seriously large grain of salt.

However, it does raise the interesting point as to whether the Mac Mini could be produced in mass quantities in the U.S. The argument for the Mac Pro coming home leans on the fact that it's a niche product created in relatively small quantities; it's also traditionally been a heavy desktop tower that would cost more to ship from China.

But the Mac Mini is obviously a different beast. It's a low-priced, easy-to-ship product that would seemingly benefit from the cost-cutting supply chain Apple has created in Asia. Any added expense from U.S. production -- such as higher labor costs -- could cut into the company's profits from what is one of Apple's more price-sensitive products. It seems reasonable to ask what would Apple gain (beyond some positive PR) by producing the Mac Mini here and not overseas.

Which Mac line do you think makes the most sense for Apple to start producing in the U.S.? Would a "made in the USA" sticker on a new Mac Pro or Mac Mini make you more likely to buy one? Let us know in the Talkback section below.

Topics: Apple, PCs

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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