According to sources for AppleInsider (who refers to a mysterious “fruit vendor” instead of identifying the company directly by name), it would appear that Apple is engaging component suppliers that are significantly increasing their United States-based production. At a time when the country can use as many jobs as possible, this is very good news.
At the recent D10 conference, Tim Cook identified that a few critical pieces of the iPhone and iPad are already made in the United States, including the “ARM processors built by Samsung in Austin, Texas, [and] the Corning Gorilla Glass made in Kentucky.”
The other pieces (things like power controllers, proximity sensors, cellular radios, Wi-Fi chips, audio and video chips and accelerometers) are more difficult to tell the origin of. While many are actually made in the United States, there is no guarantee (especially when so many USA-based manufacturers get their components from overseas suppliers). Not to mention, Apple is pretty secretive about a lot of their own sources.
What is for certain is that one of Apple’s suppliers, Avago Technologies, has started an expansion on their manufacturing processes in Fort Collins, Colorado. With as much as USD $130 million in new equipment, the facility will continue making customs parts for Apple. Other manufacturers like Texas Instruments have indicated the Apple’s business with their company is responsible for “thousands of jobs” (many of them technical and high-paying) in the United States.
This close-to-home proximity certainly makes it easier for Apple to keep close tabs on what their suppliers are doing and with all of the issues and concerns over fair labor practices in overseas factories it also lessens the worry that those working for Apple (even indirectly in this manner) are not being properly cared for.
Of course there is also the benefit that the climate tends toward being much more moderate in most areas of the United States making them less prone to tsunamis and earthquakes (or at least the effects are somewhat less devastating when they do occur), which is a problem that has plagued Apple’s production time and again with the tragedies overseas.
The one thing Cook did admit to (and show little interest in changing) is the focus on final assembly of all the pieces in their devices happening in places like China (where their partner, Foxconn, has a facility).
Now, before you are too hard on Apple –keep in mind that they also sell devices in these other countries as well, so while they may be based out of the United States they are very much global in every other way.