Report: Apple considering making iPhones in U.S.
NEW YORK — An iPhone “Designed in California” and made in the USA? It could happen soon.
Apple asked Asian-based manufacturers Foxconnand Pegatron in June to explore the possibility of manufacturing the popular smartphone in the U.S., according to a report in financial magazine Nikkei Asian Review, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
Foxconn agreed to look into the possibility though Pegatron declined over concerns that the cost of doing so would be too high, the report said.
The report comes one week after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election. While on the campaign trail in January, then-candidate Trump warned he would try to force Apple into manufacturing its products in the U.S.
“We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” he told a crowd a Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
That isn’t all. As a candidate, Trump also called for a boycott of Apple when it didn’t cave to the FBI’s request to hack the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters.
Apple declined to comment on the report, though it provided a statement about its efforts in the U.S.
“Apple is responsible for creating more than 2 million jobs across the United States, from engineers, retail and call center employees to operations and delivery drivers,” the company said, citing a jobs creation link on its website. “We work with over 8,000 suppliers from coast to coast and are investing heavily in American jobs and innovation.”
Bringing iPhone manufacturing to the U.S. could be seen as a big win for the President-elect, though at exactly what cost remains to be seen. Market researcher IHS Markit said it costs roughly $225 to build the 32GB iPhone 7, the cheapest new model Apple makes. It retails for $649.
Although it may not sound like a lot, the phone is $36.89 pricier than last year’s iPhone 6S, and that is with IHS factoring in $5 for manufacturing costs.
Foxconn has similarly expressed concerns over cost, including from chairman Terry Gou. One unnamed source told Nikkei magazine that “making iPhones in the U.S. means the cost will more than double.”
There is also the risk of Chinese push-back. Amid concerns over Trump vow to impose a 45% tax on all Chinese imports, Chinese state-backed paper Global Times published an op-ed saying China would respond “tit-for-tat,” and that “US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback.”
If Apple does bring the iPhone to the U.S., it would not be the first product the company has manufactured domestically.
While the company already builds a variety of parts for its iPhones, iPads, and Macs in the U.S., in 2013 the company notably announced that its updated Mac Pro computer would be assembled in the U.S.
Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal