Apple boasted its domestic manufacturing achievements with the 2013 Mac Pro, which was manufactured in Austin, Texas, and bore an ‘Assembled in the USA’ label.
Apple was mum on its sourcing for the 2019 Mac Pro when it announced the machine earlier this month, which heavily implied that it had given up on its USA factory and was returning to China. The Wall Street Journal reports this is indeed the case.
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The publication says Apple’s new $6000+ Mac Pro will be manufactured by Quanta, the plant which also makes many of Apple’s MacBook models. It is cheaper to assemble in China as other components of the computer are made nearby, resulting in lower shipping costs than if Apple tried to do the project in the US.
In the past, profiles of the 2013 trashcan Mac Pro’s development has also highlighted other issues with US manufacturing. At one point, it was reported that Apple struggled to source a single type of screw, contributing to lengthy launch delay.
Production is apparently “ramping up at a factory near Shanghai” for the 2019 Mac Pro which reprises the cheesegrater tower design of the pre-2013 Mac Pro designs. As always, an Apple spokesperson stressed that final assembly is just one part of the manufacturing pipeline.
Apple said it supports manufacturing in 30 U.S. states and spent $60 billion last year with more than 9,000 U.S. suppliers.
“Final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process,” the spokesman said, adding that the company’s investments support two million American jobs.
The 2013 Mac Pro was a commercial failure as much as a manufacturing process mishap. Apple quickly hit a “thermal corner” with its design and did not deliver any meaningful spec upgrades to the trashcan chassis. Professionals disliked the computer’s lack of space for internal upgradability.
The 2019 Mac Pro has been heralded as a successful return to form, featuring endless configuration options and the ability to spec it up to a 28-core CPU, 1.5 TB of RAM, and 4 Radeon Pro Vega 2 graphics cards.
However, the power comes at a price with the new Mac Pro starting at $6000 when it launches later this year. If it had been assembled in the US, in all likelihood, it would have cost even more.
Of course, the news that Apple is shifting production from the US back to China is unlikely to please the current Trump administration, who has repeatedly pressured companies to bring jobs back to the United States. The US and China are currently embroiled in a trade war, and it’s possible that the 2019 Mac Pro will be subject to tariff levies in the future.