Lost in yesterday’s writeup of the iFixit 21.5-inch iMac was this small line in the description: “Interestingly, this iMac claims to have been assembled in the USA.”
Sure enough, a look at the iFixit image of the back of the iMac shows the fascinating line “Designed in California. Assembled in USA”. Why is that fascinating? Apple has closed all of its US production facilities, which were in places like Elk Grove and Fremont, California and Fountain, Colorado.
9to5Mac reports that some earlier generation iMacs have come in boxes printed with “Assembled in USA” on the side. In order for a product to be marked as “Made in the USA,” the US Federal Trade Commission states that “A product that includes foreign components may be called ‘Assembled in USA’ without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial. For the ‘assembly’ claim to be valid, the product’s last ‘substantial transformation’ also should have occurred in the U.S. That’s why a ‘screwdriver’ assembly in the U.S. of foreign components into a final product at the end of the manufacturing process doesn’t usually qualify for the ‘Assembled in USA’ claim.”
9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub speculates that perhaps Apple is making an early manufacturing run of the new iMacs in the USA to “get the manufacturing kinks” worked out before handing the proverbial factory keys over to Foxconn.
So, if this placard on the back of a brand new iMac isn’t just a typo from the silk-silkscreening process at some Foxconn plant in China, where are some of these iMacs being assembled? If you happen to have some insight into this mystery, please let TUAW know by clicking the “Tip Us” button in the top right part of this page.