In 2013, Apple will start making computers in America, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Thursday -- after a hiatus of almost twenty years.
“We’ve been working for years on doing more and more in the U.S. Next year, we’re going to do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told NBC’s Brian Williams. He cited several components of the company’s products that are already manufactured in America, notably the processors and screens in the iPhones.
“This iPhone … the engine in here is made in America. And not only are the engines in here made in America, engines are made in America and exported,” Cook said. By engine, Cook was referring to the “A5” processors that power the phone, which are manufactured by Samsung in an Austin, Texas, facility.
'Next year, we’re going to do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States.'
- Apple CEO Tim Cook
“The glass on this phone is made in Kentucky,” he added, a reference to the Corning Gorilla Glass built in a facility in Kentucky.
“Mr. Cook is correct: Corning does produce Gorilla Glass for Apple from our Harrodsburg, Ky., manufacturing plant,” Dan Collins, vice president of communication for Corning, told FoxNews.com in May.
But Apple computers themselves haven’t been made or even assembled in the U.S.A. for nearly two decades, since the company left its Elk Grove and Fremont, Calif., facilities and switched fully to Chinese manufacturing in 1994, along with the rest of the computer industry.
Apple is clearly already well on the way: Some of the latest iMacs from the company carry a sticker labeled “Assembled in America.”
A quick tour of the Apple store in New York’s Grand Central Station Wednesday revealed one new iMac with just such a sticker, brought to the location a week ago, a store employee told FoxNews.com, and likely one of the first produced iMacs. A sticker on a second, identical iMac says “Assembled in China,” however.
Sources within the FTC told FoxNews.com they had heard that Apple was “in the process of getting approval to set up a plant in California in connection with these products,” but could not confirm the information.
Members of the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce did not return FoxNews.com phone calls.
Cook did not provide any additional details about where the manufacturing facility would be located, how many jobs it would create. But in an interview with Businessweek, Cook said the company would invest more than $100 million in the new project.
"We wanted to do something more substantial. So we’ll literally invest over $100 million. This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people, and we’ll be investing our money."
Not all of the company's plans for America will be in California, however. Eve Richter, economic development and emerging technologies coordinator for the Austin, Texas, Chamber of Commerce, told FoxNews.com the company is planning to expand a facility in that city, known for its high tech and manufacturing industries.
“Apple is building an office, an ‘Americas Operations Center,’” Richter told FoxNews.com. While that plant will create more than 3,600 jobs, she said, it is not a manufacturing facility.
“This project that I’ve talked about, where we’ll do a Mac in the United States next year, this is a really good 'nother step for us,” Cook told Williams. When asked whether manufacturing in the U.S. will add to the cost of products, Cook deferred the question, instead arguing that the real issue was about the labor pool.
It’s not so much about the price as it is about the skills, etc. Over time, there are skills associated with manufacturing that have left the U.S.,” Cook said.
“It’s not a matter of bringing it back, it’s a matter of starting it here,” Cook said.
Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at FoxNews.com, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.