Commentary

Apple Will Keep Mac Pro Manufacturing In Austin After Tariff Relief

Apple announced yesterday that it will continue to assemble its high-end Mac Pro in Austin, Texas, after it received tariff exemptions from the Trump administration for “certain necessary components” that are made in China.

“This latest generation Mac Pro, which was unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference in June, will begin production soon at the same Austin facility where Mac Pro has been made since 2013,” according to a release announcing the news.

“The tech giant’s announcement comes three months after The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple planned to move Mac Pro manufacturing to China. The newspaper’s June report cited a number of challenges, including declining demand and manufacturing capacity. The company had also been at odds with President Donald Trump’s administration over proposed tariffs on Chinese goods that would affect the company’s imports,” Kara Carlson writes  for the Austin Statesman.

advertisement

advertisement

“A month later, Trump slammed Apple on Twitter for building products outside the U.S. and said the company would not receive relief from tariffs. He later walked back those comments,” Steven Overly writes  for Politico.

“‘A man I have a lot of liking for and respect is Tim Cook, and we’ll work it out, I think they’re going to announce that they’re going to build a plant in Texas, and if they do that I’m starting to get very happy, okay,’ Trump later said,” Josh Lipton and Kif Leswig recount  for CNBC.com. 

OK, then.

“In terms of the exclusion, we’ve been making the Mac Pro in the U.S. We want to continue doing that,” Cook subsequently said on a call with analysts, Lipton and Leswig report. “We’re working and investing currently in capacity to do so because we want to continue to be here.”

Starting at $5,999 -- sans monitor, which is another $4,999 or more -- “this isn’t a computer created for the average consumer, as you'll find the spec and price to be far in excess of what you need -- and what you can afford,” write  Matt Swider and Matt Hanson for TechRadar Pro.

“Apple’s decision to reverse course and instead keep the computer’s assembly in Texas is among the most pronounced examples of how tariffs have roiled corporate decision-making. Former operations employees and current suppliers say they have spent much of the past year evaluating contingency plans for products that are assembled in China, as the company looks to avoid tariffs. Apple had asked suppliers to move as much as a third of production for some devices outside China,” Tripp Mickle and Sarah E. Needleman write  for The Wall Street Journal

“The company said it would begin production of the new Mac Pro soon at the Texas facility, without specifying a date. The new desktop computer will include components designed and made by more than a dozen U.S. companies,” Mickle adds.

“Apple says that last year it spent $60 billion on manufacturing in the United States, with over 9,000 suppliers. The company said it plans to invest $350 billion in the U.S. economy by 2023,” the Statesman’s Carlson reports.

“Trump for years has pressured Apple and other companies to shift manufacturing to the United States. Apple has been able to make a specialized product like the Mac Pro in the United States, but high-volume products like the iPhone would be difficult to manufacture outside China because no country can match China’s number of trained workers and its supply-chain infrastructure, according to analysts and former Apple employees,” Jack Nicas writes  for The New York Times.

“Still, to reduce its dependence on China, where it assembles most of its products, Apple is investigating ways to increase manufacturing in Vietnam and India, even urging some suppliers to open new plants there,” a source tells Nicas.

Meanwhile, legacy Mac Pro computers running AVID’s Media Composer video editing software on older versions of the Mac OS were reportedly crashing last night. 

“Film and TV editors across Los Angeles were sweating Monday evening as their workstations were refusing to reboot, resulting in speculations about a possible computer virus attack,” Janko Roettgers writes  for Variety.

I’m betting they were swearing, too. But the root cause of their ire is uncertain.

“Some analysis by affected users seemed to suggest that the outage may not have been caused by a virus, but by a recent software update that may have corrupted some data, with some suggesting a OS X reinstall that keeps the existing data to restart the machine. Either way, it’s a good idea for anyone running AVID software on a Mac to back up all data right away,” Roettgers concludes.

Particularly if you’re keeping track of where Trump stands day to day.

Next story loading loading..