The launch of the newly designed 21.5-inch iMac has revealed an interesting discovery: some of these units have markings claiming assembly in the United States. While Apple has long performed final assembly in the U.S. of some of its built-to-order Mac configurations — including the iMac and Mac Pro — this is the first time that a significant number of standard configuration, “off-the-shelf” models have purportedly been assembled in Apple’s home country.
A new 2012 standard configuration iMac with an "Assembled in USA" marking (via iFixit).
First reported by Fortune and confirmed by MacRumors, customers at several Apple Retail Stores are reporting that their new standard configuration iMacs say “Assembled in USA” on the packaging and hardware, a significant change from the “Assembled in China” marking that has become nearly universal for products from Apple and other electronic manufacturers. Even the venerable iFixit received a unit reportedly “Assembled in USA.”
It should be noted, however, that many standard configuration iMacs continue to report that their assembly was performed in China, including two units checked by The Mac Observer. Therefore, while this discovery marks a highly intriguing development in the production of iMacs, it is far from a universal change in manufacturing strategy from the Cupertino company.
Further, it is not clear if these standard configuration units were indeed assembled in the U.S., or if there was simply a supply error that sent parts and labels intended for U.S-built custom order Macs to Apple’s manufacturing facilities in China. The implications of such an error related to international trade and the rules of product origin, however, would lead us to believe that Apple would quickly address the issue if this were indeed the case.
The Mac Observer has contacted Apple requesting comment on the situation but has yet to receive a response.
Teaser graphic made with help from Shutterstock