The next Mac Pro will be “Made in China”

While the Mac Pro “trash can” proudly bore the words ” Assembled in the USA “, the future Mac Pro “cheese-grater on wheels” will hit a vulgar ” Assembled in China “. The trade war led by Donald Trump, the threat of a tax on punitive damages, the potential negative impact on the brand image of the company ? Swept the face of the difficulties posed by the assembly line, installed at the Austin (Texas).

Tim Cook en visite dans une usine Foxconn. Image Apple.
Tim Cook visited a factory Foxconn. Image Apple.

Apple had invested over 100 million to upgrade the facilities of the subcontractor, american Flex in the capital of texas. If Cupertino is the head of Apple, then Austin is the legs. Apple has installed a logistics platform and its educational division, and then was grafted to the pool of engineers specialized in the design of semi-conductors, up to build a new ” campus “. Still, the opening of an assembly line was a gamble.

Flex took advantage of a tax deduction, in exchange for the hiring of 500 people, to settle in Austin. However, this agreement with the authorities texan will end the next month, explains the Wall Street Journal, and this chain is no more than a shadow of itself. Three-quarters of the assembly lines are stopped, and the rest is used as much to produce new machines than to repair the old, a former vice-president of Flex.

In December 2013, the start-up of assembly lines had experienced several false starts, especially after a fantastic break of stocks, etc. of the screw (read : A screw that is responsible for the delay of the Mac Pro 2013 and a symbol of the complexity of the made in the USA). Alan Hanrahan, who has directed the training of center team of Austin, said last year that more than 80 % of employees were paid the minimum wage for working eight hours per day. As soon as their day is done, and even if the three assembly lines were turning again, they went without any form of trial.

“You could turn back to go drink a coffee “, explains what an intermediate frame which had been dispatched from the offices of irish Apple, ” and 10 or 20 persons were parties. “ In the meantime the next generation, the employees still present had to stop the assembly line, and take their evil in patience. Poorly paid, not involved, not motivated, the workers were providing a poor work. Barely 30 % of the production was the quality control.

The figure has gradually improved, but by the beginning of 2015, Flex had started to reduce sail, and lay off employees. As the lines devoted to the Mac Pro have lost in importance, other manufacturers have invested the premises. Today, Flex assembles including computers for HP in its factory in texas. The new Mac Pro should be assembled by Quanta in a factory near Shanghai.

Some of the components of the workstation are manufactured in the United States, but most come from asian suppliers. This “redélocalisation” is motivated by the lowering of the cost of the supply (and of course labour), but also by the logistic capabilities offered by chinese industry. The fact is that the u.s. industry suffers from an aging infrastructure and a shortage of skilled workers (read : Apple in China : why Donald Trump).

Beyond this single machine, Apple has begun to fund the opening of the chain assembly out of China, under the pressure of protectionist policies (Brazil, India) as to allocate the production of certain goods (Taiwan, Vietnam). A part of the production of the iPhone might as well move to Taiwan, and the sites in california and ireland, today devolved to the assembly of some configurations that are very specific, could gain in importance.