Apple to Build Least-Popular Macs in America
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook surprised the world when he announced that his company would invest $100 million in American manufacturing. According to DigiTimes, the domestic facility might produce the company's smallest and least-popular desktop computer -- the Mac Mini.
Foxconn will reportedly handle the manufacturing duties in America. The Taiwanese company, which already produces most of Apple's products in China, has several operating bases in the United States.
In its report, DigiTimes said that shipments of the Mac Mini are expected to reach 1.4 million units this year -- a 40 percent increase on year. Shipments of the pint-sized device are expected to rise another 30 percent in 2013, raising the number of units to 1.8 million.
At almost two million units, Apple will have a lot for its American employees to accomplish in 2013. However, that number pales in comparison to the millions of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro units that are produced, shipped and sold every year. During the second quarter alone, Apple shipped 2.8 million MacBooks.
In 2011, nearly one-third of the 14.5 million all-in-one desktop PCs were sold by Apple. This amounts to more than four million in annual sales for the iMac. The brand-new iMac is expected to quadruple Apple's sales of desktop PCs.
Apple could have produced any one of these machines in the United States. It could have expanded the number of iMac units that are already produced in America, or send some of the MacBook Air production back home. It could produce the iPad -- which contains a handful of domestic parts -- in America as well.
Instead it seems that Apple may take the easy way out by shifting production for its least-popular PC. Compared to sales of Apple TV and the iPod Nano, some may argue that the Mac Mini is Apple's least successful product available.
By manufacturing the Mac Mini domestically, Apple is attempting to appeal to consumers who want to buy American. However, if those consumers want to actually use the device, they will need a mouse, keyboard and a monitor, all of which are manufactured outside of the United States. This will make the Mac Mini seem far less American than the few all-in-one iMacs that are produced locally.
Apple is not the first tech company that planned to build its least-popular products in America. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) attempted to do the same when it announced the Nexus Q. This orb-shaped media device was confusing, overpriced and was expected to be available in limited quantities. The Nexus Q has now been canceled. Meanwhile, Google's partners continue to manufacture the company's most popular products -- the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 -- overseas.
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