Apple's US Plants Could be Highly Automated


Cat Can't Scratch It
May 9, 2000
We know that Apple has announced plans to build and operate new plants in the US, but after initial construction is finished, exactly how many jobs are we expecting Apple to create to make the products? Apple executives could be leaning toward manufacturing plants populated by sophisticated robotics.

With Apple poised to drop a cool $100 million in US manufacturing in 2013, theories about just what a modern Apple factory could look like. As Macworld reports, the early money appears to be on intelligent machines, and lots of them.
automated - as in an army of asian child workers who jump out windows?
Brings a lot of higher level paying engineer jobs here, which is fine by me. More efficient, and the unions deserve the ruin of menial labor jobs in North America.
This isn't a bad thing. Look what the happened to the auto industry. It's better if they started making robo plants here and getting some jobs than in other countries and we get zero jobs.
I figured this, it's the same thing Foxconn is doing in Taiwan so they can rid themselves of Chinese labor.
They're going to need some stronger nets if 2-ton robots start jumping from the roof.
And yet...people still continue to pay top dollar for their products. I never really liked anything Apple. I've always thought they were good...but severely overpriced. They just don't appeal to me.
After that a$*hole told the president that Apple would not be bringing jobs back to the USA, I was even more determined not to buy anything with the Apple logo.
When they start supporting me by putting money into the local economy in the form of jobs...I'll reciprocate. Not a minute before.
This isn't a bad thing. Look what the happened to the auto industry. It's better if they started making robo plants here and getting some jobs than in other countries and we get zero jobs.


"Robo plants" still need people to troubleshoot problems. Even if they aren't direct Apple jobs, it will create outsourced jobs for the people who design, make & service the equipment, also local machine shops will be needed to make the odd part or two when an engineer discovers a way to fix a problem and/or prevent future re-occurrence of a problem. Plus janitorial jobs and such (usually outsourced), and more business for community service industry jobs like lunch restaurants near the people who directly and indirectly work for the plant.

Even if $100 mil is not much when you talk about a factory, a small factory is better than none.
Wow. For once I am approving of some actions of Apple.

Too bad it doesn't outweigh the patent trolling, Foxconn plants, and general stupidity of customers and employees :D
Makes sense since once the manufacturing and assembly becomes more and more automated the shipping costs are what is going to bring these factories back stateside.
The good thing about robots is that Apple will finally have some assembly workers that they will actually feed and care for properly. :D

The best part is that when they have outlived their usefulness, Apple can just get rid of them.
I rather pay for automation than chicoms hoarding all the cash outside USA.

At east it creates and feeds the robotics industry in USA.
I rather pay for automation than chicoms hoarding all the cash outside USA.

At east it creates and feeds the robotics industry in USA.

Exactly. Jobs are jobs, and it would be great to know that they're paying taxes on their manufacturing facilities and income back into the US rather than China.

The idea that American labor is more expensive because of the big bad EPA or whiny union people is a bunch of bullshit. Chinese slaves with their non-existent workplace protection laws will always be cheaper than the cheapest non-union American laborers. If more automation is what it takes to get manufacturing back here then so be it.

Now we just need to fix the corporate income tax. Right now it's very high, but full of loopholes that keep rates ridiculously low for established industries. Tech companies get screwed under the current system while the government effectively subsidizes other sectors. Throw out all the loopholes and exemptions and set the rates at some fair level.
There's nothing wrong with robots, especially in that industry. You need control engineers and a lot of techs to keep an automated facility running. Even if they only hire 100 people it's the equivilant of 500 Walmart employees in wages. Plus the huge renovation costs of upgrades or modifications, boosting local contractors, ect.

All good in my book! As much as I hate Apple currently, as a US company I really want them to get their s*** together, be more respectable and bring some jobs home.
The hate for this is surprising.. well surprisingly ignorant. Manufacturing jobs can't compete over here, period. This isn't even debatable. So instead they are choosing to bring more automated manufacturing which will increase demand for higher paying more skilled workers to operate and maintain automation. I fail to see any problem with bringing higher skill jobs over here. What the hell are some of you complaining for?
Cool. Not really unexpected. I figured it was a lot more automated than it already was, anyway.

Watch some union watch dog (or Congressman) come in and say they aren't allowed to build unless they supply x amount of jobs and kill the whole deal.
This is probably just an assembly plant. Assembly plants are always the plants pictured in the media because that's when the product starts coming together in a recognizable form. But that's far from where all the magic is.

I build a computer every 2-3 years or so. And its mine, so I agonize about it and drag it out. Using just my tools at home, if I build a computer by hand, once I got into the groove of doing the same thing over and over, I could probably do 2 to 4/hr. Imagine an assembly line where jobs are shared and you have some help with specialized tooling. Not a lot of cost in labor going on here if the circuit boards and graphics cards, etc. are coming from China.

In fact, labor wages are not the only things that cost money in manufacture. It gets all the attention for two reasons. One is that in unionized plants, come contract talk times the business bitch about labor costs to rally public opinion to their side and the union side does their own version of it too. The second reason, is that its the only place management thinks it can squeeze money out of. Material costs are what they are to a degree, government regulatory costs are what they are, taxes are what they are. The only way to pull out cost easily and more importantly, the only way that the board of directors understands because they probably don't have any clue how the business should run, is to squeeze the workers.

Labor is one of the costs of manufacture but in many cases its far from the only one and same goes as being far from the only reason manufacture in the US is non competitive with other places.