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

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?

TOPICS: Apple, PCs

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

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Good for apple

    If you can't make the best, at least make it in the USA. I applaud apple's move to bring more jobs home. I won't buy this, don't get me wrong, apple products still suck, but that doesn't mean I don't approve of this move. I encourage other, more capable manufacturers like Microsoft to follow suite.
    • Ground up Surface tablets to power waste water treatment process!

      Good on Microsoft! Oh wait...that article was talking about something else...similar but something else.
    • Apple will have their pants taxed away by OweBummer

      It's just a matter of time before they are forced to move it outside of US again trust me.
      • You're betting that a corporation isn't smarter than Obama?

        Apple would only do this if they were promised tax incentives. None of these massive corporate entities will bring their manufacturing back to the US unless they benefited from it.

        It's a sad reality that even with massive numbers of desperate workers in the US looking for even a minimum wage job, corporations are still profiting more when they pay a Chinese worker a weeks work what a US worker would typically make in an hour. The entire Capitalism model isn't about Consumerism though - it's about control. If you outsource jobs, those who used to be your consumers are now broke and can only afford your low-cost crap to keep their needs at least partially sated. It seems the GOP elitism model is to sway more on the side of depressing more and more of the middle-class, so by depressing those consumers, you can control their habits more, and keep them from clashing with your class. Welcome to Slavism for the 21st century.
        • Wait, so you don't like cheap labor?

          Imagine your car breaks down so you need to repair it. Two mechanics are in town with the exactly same skills. One charges 80/hr while the other 60/hr. Are you telling me you are going for the first w/o hesitation?

          Everyone likes cheap labor. That's the way it is.
          • Bad analogy

            Both are jobs you can't outsource. and 60/hr. is a decent wage in the USA that you can live more than comfortably on so its not exactly supporting a sweatshop.. But even here, people choose mechanics more on distance, reliability and reputation than just the bottom line. My mechanic is a little pricy but I trust him and he is just down the street. Im not towing my car to china to get a better deal.
        • There are other insentives to the US than tax cuts

          Apple wants to be seen as making the best products in the world. If Americans care where their products are made (as most are increasingly doing), and are willing to spend a premium for it, than why not use it as an excuse to why their products are more expensive. Best product on Earth made by the greatest country on Earth.

          We need to figure out how to get more Americans to want to buy domestic, that is how we keep companies here, the tax cuts are just nice.
          Cody Vickroy
      • Aren't you clever?

        I mean, it isn't like we have a low corporate tax rate or anything (the effective tax rate is actually somewhere in the 12% range, some companies even get more money back than they put in).

        But, hey, keep on trucking for those Mega-Corps to get handfuls of cash.
        Michael Alan Goff
  • As long as they start building something here

    then that's good.
    NoMore MicrosoftEver
  • From the article: a" made in the USA" sticker

    Why not a new logo? Like Uncle taking a bite out of an apple.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Edit: Like Uncle Sam taking a bite out of an apple.

      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Awesome!

    Go USA...Go USA!! It would be nice to see USA as the next computer/electronic capital of the world! US needs to build a better working relationship with computing industries that will provide great opportunities for all US citizens. Will this reduce the unemployment rate? I sure hope so. All in all, in any industries, it would be positive to see something made here in US. Sign me in...I would definitely work for Apple!
  • DigiTimes rumor: Apple to produce Mac Mini desktops in the U.S.

    Apple must not have read ZDNet with all the "desktop is dead" articles.
  • Makes sense in many ways

    The Mini makes sense in many ways. First off let's be clear what Apple is doing. It is taking parts from oversea's and assembling them in the US rather then China. Not going to set the US employment picture on easy street. Nor will it provide big wages and benefits. Not if its going to try and hold the margins that Apple I am sure hopes to hold. The Mini would be a easier assembly line then a iMac and certainly a laptop would be even harder. Plus I suspect the lower sales of the Mini won't hurt Apple's bottom line. Its higher margin and higher sale items can make up for the lower margin US built machines. Its great Apple is doing something but I think to put it in perspective is the right thing to do.
  • "more capable manufacturers like Microsoft"

    Best laugh I've had all Christmas...you should do stand up".
  • I see this as a "test" really

    OK, IF Apple is indeed interested in bringing manufacturing back to the US it makes no sense at all to try first with one of its more popular products. It is most logical to "test the waters", so to speak, using one of it's less profitable and less popular devices first such as the Mac mini. It's a device that doesn't suffer from wild swings in consumer demand so production can be ramped up gradually. Plus, given it's lack of LCD panels, special glass and fancy aluminum welding it's probably one of the simpler devices in Apple's inventory to make.
  • If you think so little of the articles at ZDNet,

    please feel free to leave, no one is twisting your arm to drop by.
    You offer virtually nothing to any discussion, other than a lot of
    hot air and attacks on other members.
    ZDNet Moderator
    • Now this comment is "orphaned"...

      you can disregard it now, as the offensive post it was in response to has been
      ZDNet Moderator
  • Why a Desktop

    One of reasons to produce a desktop here is that with a dt, there are always multiple options that one chooses and it makes more sense to make such a semi-personalized product as close to the consumer as you can-not just from a shipping standpoint but from a flexibility standpoint. Lenovo is according to reports going to be making (assembling more like it) their new ThinkPad Tablet 2 in North Carolina near their USA headquarters and near to a major design team. With assembly nearby, much easier to get the customer the configuration they want. Not much of an Apple software fan, but I do have an iMac 27" on which I run Windows. And if they came out with a touch screen, would probably buy one of those. BTW, the Thinkpad Tablet 2 is, I think, is going to make some business people look at it as an alternative to iPad and Android. Since runs on intel chip, can run all legacy programs of Windows and yet be as light and thin as an iPad with great battery life. We will see, of course. That is what I am waiting for as want tablet that can do run my apps, and be made in USA.
  • It's a start

    And like another poster said this is more than likely a test to see if a US based manufacturing plant will work out. I truly hope so because if this test is successful then I can see Apple brining more of their production here and other companies following their lead.