NYT Outlines Troubled U.S. Mac Pro Assembly

AlphaAtlas

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Back in 2012, Apple promised that it would start manufacturing "one of the existing Mac lines" in the U.S. instead of China. But a little over 6 years later, the vast majority of Apple's products are still assembled overseas, with the aging, pricey Mac Pro being the only exception. Citing anonymous sources, recent report from the New York Times claims that Apple's Mac Pro factory in Austin, Texas, has run into some production headaches over the years. Among other things, a "former Apple manager" told the NYT that the Flextronics team was much smaller than a typical production team you'd see overseas. The workers in the US plant allegedly felt "overwhelmed" because they were understaffed, and they are not willing to work overnight. Meanwhile, Stephen Melo, the owner and president of Caldwell Manufacturing, said that he had trouble supplying Apple with 28,000 screws they needed on short order, as his company had shifted to low volume, specialized production ever since most manufacturing moved overseas. The Mac Pro is due for a refresh sometime soon, and Apple recently announced plans for a huge campus in Austin, Texas, but the NYT claims that "none of the new jobs are expected to be in manufacturing."

"China is not just cheap. It's a place where, because it's an authoritarian government, you can marshal 100,000 people to work all night for you," said Susan Helper, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the former chief economist at the Commerce Department. "That has become an essential part of the product-rollout strategy."
 
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katanaD

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Another frustration with manufacturing in Texas: American workers won’t work around the clock. Chinese factories have shifts working at all hours, if necessary, and workers are sometimes even roused from their sleep to meet production goals. That was not an option in Texas.

that is also something very different. the people there sleep in quarters on site, kinda like the old company towns way back when here.

something you will not find here anymore
 

Slade

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Seriously... you want manufacturing back in America??? this is a perfect example of what you are competing with in terms of labor.
 

steakman1971

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I've got to wonder - how many Mac Pro's are they selling? I've never seen one except at the Apple Store. I've not really heard of a huge demand - they are over priced and out of date.
 

Lakados

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I've got to wonder - how many Mac Pro's are they selling? I've never seen one except at the Apple Store. I've not really heard of a huge demand - they are over priced and out of date.
Sadly a lot, for office workers for a lot of government tasks you do not need a lot of power to process emails, pdf’s, and spread sheets. What you need is light weight and a good screen. I know it sounds stupid but for a lot of workers who have to lug them around all day the better screens and the lighter weight can be the difference between having an OH&S rep up your ass and not. The extra few hundred dollars for the Mac in a number of use cases comes out ahead, especially when paired with a good MDM like Jamf to manage them.
 

gunbust3r

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Sadly a lot, for office workers for a lot of government tasks you do not need a lot of power to process emails, pdf’s, and spread sheets. What you need is light weight and a good screen. I know it sounds stupid but for a lot of workers who have to lug them around all day the better screens and the lighter weight can be the difference between having an OH&S rep up your ass and not. The extra few hundred dollars for the Mac in a number of use cases comes out ahead, especially when paired with a good MDM like Jamf to manage them.

This one sailed right overhead didn't it. Mac Pro = $2,999.00 Desktop Trashcan. MacBook Pro = Laptop
 

Dead Parrot

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You don't recreate a manufacturing infrastructure overnight. The US lost most of our via several decades of cheap imports from Japan, then Taiwan, and now China. Even if you could magically create ready to go factories, you still need people to run them. There are regular WSJ articles about shortages in the trade fields because of all of the buy in on College Ed = Better Pay. Even with an all out effort to bring manufacturing back to the US, it will take years of steady effort to make it happen.
 

nutzo

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Seriously... you want manufacturing back in America??? this is a perfect example of what you are competing with in terms of labor.

Difficult for US manufacturing to compete with Chinese slave labor.
 

nutzo

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Sadly a lot, for office workers for a lot of government tasks you do not need a lot of power to process emails, pdf’s, and spread sheets. What you need is light weight and a good screen. I know it sounds stupid but for a lot of workers who have to lug them around all day the better screens and the lighter weight can be the difference between having an OH&S rep up your ass and not. The extra few hundred dollars for the Mac in a number of use cases comes out ahead, especially when paired with a good MDM like Jamf to manage them.

Mac's are not just a few hundred dollars more.
Buy a light Windows laptop for half the price.
 

gamerk2

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Yeah, I think I'll take slightly higher prices and slower rollouts over slave labor.

The past 100 years of economic data says otherwise.

The fact is: Cheap manufacturing jobs are gone and they are never coming back. The jobs you have are either specialized, or in the service industry. The age of being able to drop out of high school and get a career in manufacturing is long over.
 

N4CR

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that is also something very different. the people there sleep in quarters on site, kinda like the old company towns way back when here.

something you will not find here anymore
Some of us still do this in western countries, because we are usually in senior positions with a lot of responsibility. I help whenever needed, I don't want to look back at the company one day if it closes and go 'I wish I tried harder'. It's not just me that's impacted if that happens, it's the livelihoods of many people.
 

umeng2002

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You would think a company with as much money as Apple could afford to manufacture their products more humanely.
 

BloodyIron

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The hardware and engineering that goes into Mac Pros is actually fair to market if you compare them to offerings from Dell and HP. It's one of the areas that Apple actually have equal footing on in terms of quality and workstation performance. Their downside though is lack of expansion and other such adaptability.

If you price out similar in spec systems from other OEMs, you'll find similar pricing. Workstations are no joke. Used properly they can be serious money makers. Rendering times, responsiveness in complex tools, etc, translate directly to bottom lines.

I've got to wonder - how many Mac Pro's are they selling? I've never seen one except at the Apple Store. I've not really heard of a huge demand - they are over priced and out of date.
 

BloodyIron

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They wouldn't be so profitable without Chinese labor. That's how capitalism works. Find the biggest suckers and leech off them.

You would think a company with as much money as Apple could afford to manufacture their products more humanely.
 

captainyarr

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The past 100 years of economic data says otherwise.

The fact is: Cheap manufacturing jobs are gone and they are never coming back. The jobs you have are either specialized, or in the service industry. The age of being able to drop out of high school and get a career in manufacturing is long over.

I would counter that statement with the fact that manufacturing jobs are coming back in a way we have not seen in decades.
Manufacturing jobs growing at fastest rate in 23 years
312,000 Jobs Added In December, Manufacturing Growing 714% Faster...
Maybe correcting the extreme corporate tax rates and unfair trade agreements was the magic wand manufacturing needed all along.
 

maxz01

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I'm grateful for Chinese slaves, they make modern civilization and progress possible, just like Greek slaves made Athenian culture and philosophy flourish. Thank you slaves for enabling the advancement of science and culture!
 

drdoug99

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You would think a company with as much money as Apple could afford to manufacture their products more humanely.

That's exactly the point though. They could afford to do a lot of things. Any of the big US companies could. But then they wouldn't be as profitable. And they can't have that now, can they?
 

DuronBurgerMan

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"China is not just cheap. It's a place where, because it's an authoritarian government, you can marshal 100,000 people to work all night for you," said Susan Helper, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the former chief economist at the Commerce Department. "That has become an essential part of the product-rollout strategy."

Because China. The fusion of corporate cronyism and Chinese market communism, or whatever they are calling it these days, combines the worst features of both Capitalism and Socialism. This is the stuff human rights disasters are made of. And hey, didn't one of Apple's contracted Foxconn factories blow up and kill a few hundred workers a couple years ago? I'm sure Apple doesn't mind skirting basic safety regs, too.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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"China is not just cheap. It's a place where, because it's an authoritarian government, you can marshal 100,000 people to work all night for you," said Susan Helper, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the former chief economist at the Commerce Department. "That has become an essential part of the product-rollout strategy."

Shocked. You mean american workers won't put up with being warehoused in dormitories they are never allowed to leave, paid a pittance and being forced to work all night?

It's amazing what you can do with a little indentured servitude.

Its a shame that people choose to look the other way because they are so addicted to getting their cheap goods. If we were ethical about it, we'd end all imports from China, except from companies adopting western labor laws and salaries allowing their workers to live western standards of living, in their entire supply chain.
 

Vega

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"China is not just cheap. It's a place where, because it's an authoritarian government, you can marshal 100,000 people to work all night for you," said Susan Helper, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the former chief economist at the Commerce Department. "That has become an essential part of the product-rollout strategy."

American companies basically love Asian slave labor. Very sad state of affairs.
 

gamerk2

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I would counter that statement with the fact that manufacturing jobs are coming back in a way we have not seen in decades.
Manufacturing jobs growing at fastest rate in 23 years
312,000 Jobs Added In December, Manufacturing Growing 714% Faster...
Maybe correcting the extreme corporate tax rates and unfair trade agreements was the magic wand manufacturing needed all along.

The trends from the first article have already reversed themselves as manufacturing hiring is back to basically the same rate it was when Obama was in office at the end of his term.

As for the second, you're comparing manufacturing growth against Obama's first two years, which was the time period where two manufacturing giants (GM and Chrysler) entered bankruptcy protection. Declining auto sales due to high oil prices didn't help those numbers either. So of course over the same time period Trumps manufacturing growth looks better, given the freefall manufacturing was in when Obama took office. Its also worth noting that over his entire presidency, manufacturing grew SIGNIFICANTLY under Obama.

A few articles were put out yesterday (which I'm trying to dig up EDIT: Found it https://www.pbs.org/newshour/econom...s-tax-cuts-boost-hiring-most-companies-say-no) that showed that business investment of the Trump tax cut basically amounted to no major change in hiring trends. This came out alongside the CBO reporting the yearly defecit had grown to just under $900 Billion per year (double what it was when Obama left office, I might add.)

Beware putting too much stock in short term economic trends. The long-term trendlines always win out in the end. At the end of the day, it's a global economy now; companies are more willing to eat import tariffs to do business in the US then they are to eat what often amounts to 5-10 times the labor costs across the board. Long term, manufacturing jobs are going to be limited to well-paid skilled labor, where the majority of low-skilled labor is either going to get moved to where labor is cheap and plentiful or replaced by automation (which has eliminated far more jobs then outsourcing ever will). It is simply not economically viable to do large-scale unskilled manufacturing work in a place with high labor costs; you can't proclaim to love Capitalism while at the same time demanding that these types of jobs be done here.
 
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zkostik

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I've got to wonder - how many Mac Pro's are they selling? I've never seen one except at the Apple Store. I've not really heard of a huge demand - they are over priced and out of date.

Out of date is an understatement as that thing hasn't see an update since 2013 and they still sell it! Amazing!
 
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American companies basically love Asian slave labor. Very sad state of affairs.

Please...consumers are just as much to blame. People arent willing to pay higher prices for goods = send jobs offshore and do it for cheaper.
 

Auer

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Please...consumers are just as much to blame. People arent willing to pay higher prices for goods = send jobs offshore and do it for cheaper.

A lot of people simply can't afford the higher prices.

A lot of poverty being ignored in America atm.
 

Smashing Young Man

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A lot of people simply can't afford the higher prices.

A lot of poverty being ignored in America atm.
Most of the crap the poor buy from China are luxury electronic items and nonessential bric-a-brac. If everything in Walmart but the groceries went up in price by 10, 20, or even 30% and beyond, I daresay our poor would survive and be better for it in the long run.
 
D

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A lot of people simply can't afford the higher prices.

A lot of poverty being ignored in America atm.

Yup people really need those new iphones rather than a $100 flip phone. Funny how our standards of living have changed.
 

Auer

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Most of the crap the poor buy from China are luxury electronic items and nonessential bric-a-brac. If everything in Walmart but the groceries went up in price by 10, 20, or even 30% and beyond, I daresay our poor would survive and be better for it in the long run.

Yup people really need those new iphones rather than a $100 flip phone. Funny how our standards of living have changed.

Maybe you guys should research American poverty a little further than just at your local Walmart.

Go to a coal town and ask how many people have Iphones. Or the southside of Detroit.
 

DuronBurgerMan

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Maybe you guys should research American poverty a little further than just at your local Walmart.

Go to a coal town and ask how many people have Iphones. Or the southside of Detroit.

The question is, do they NEED to have iPhones? The answer is no. You don't NEED a cell phone at all. You can live without. But if for some reason you think you can't, you can buy used or cheap generic phones for 1/10 the price of an iPhone.
 

NickJames

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The question is, do they NEED to have iPhones? The answer is no. You don't NEED a cell phone at all. You can live without. But if for some reason you think you can't, you can buy used or cheap generic phones for 1/10 the price of an iPhone.

You underestimate the requirement for internet and a smartphone these days.
 

NickJames

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Even if true - an admission I do not make - you can buy used and/or cheap devices. No need for an iPhone. Here, enjoy a comic about this shit:

https://theoatmeal.com/comics/apple

I agree with not needing to be a brand new iphone, older smartphones that can be had for less than $100 work just fine. But almost anyone with an office job, IT or corporate heck even still attending school you need a cell or mobile internet capable device in some way. Even the government gives people in poverty subsidized phone and internet because it's a requirement in some public schools.
 
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I've got to wonder - how many Mac Pro's are they selling? I've never seen one except at the Apple Store. I've not really heard of a huge demand - they are over priced and out of date.

So, back in 2007/2008 I used to see TONS of them roll by on the conveyor in South San Francisco, so I definitely know the older design Mac Pros were quite big sellers... and that was just at one FedEx location.

I hope they fix the design of the new Mac Pro, I would love to own another one that supports the new OS and isn't so out of date hardware-wise.
 
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