Apple Moving Select Manufacturing Back to the US

January 10, 2017 - 2 minutes read

According to a Notification of Proposed Production Activity submitted by Apple in recent weeks, the tech giant will be expanding an existing production center in Mesa, Arizona to increase domestic hardware activity.

Does this mean your next iPhone will come with a “made in America” stamp? Almost certainly not.

It does, however, point to the possibility of how tax incentives will help to make campaign promises from the GOP come true, at least in part, in the coming years. Seeing how tech giants like Apple will react to the push for US-made goods promised by the Trump administration will be something of a barometer for other tech companies figuring how to restructure to survive and thrive in what could be a radically different tax and employment structure.

iOS app developers, for their part, are less concerned about domestic production and more concerned about how employment and immigration laws will affect engineering teams, which widely rely on “imported” and remote talent. Apple, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to be entertaining the idea of moving their largely outsourced hardware production back home — although reports of phone conversations between CEO Tim Cook and President Elect Donald Trump lend credence to the idea that the Mesa move may be part of a larger push to return operations to the US.

How GOP tax incentives would make this advantageous for Apple, and how similar incentives will avoid driving further deficits, remains to be seen.

Los Angeles iOS app developers are quick to point out that the Mac Pro is already produced in the US, and the company may have already been planning to expand operations in the US as part of their overall expansion company-wide. As for Mesa, the products produced there will mostly be related to the upkeep of Apple data centers — components like batteries, monitors, and circuit boards are among the center’s output.

Apple has yet to comment publicly on the expansion, and what it has to say about app development strategies for the next four years. For now, developers will simply have to wait and see.

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