Here's Why iPhone Assembly Doesn't Happen Here

Apple relies on China for a huge part of its manufacturing needs. But why can’t the company bring it back to the United States? Custom screws.

The challenges in Texas illustrate problems that Apple would face if it tried to move a significant amount of manufacturing out of China. Apple has found that no country — and certainly not the United States — can match China’s combination of scale, skills, infrastructure and cost.

Manufacturing and cheap labor are the reasons why Apple and other companies go to China. The GOP can talk about bringing jobs like that back, but it’s not an easy problem to solve.

NY Grad Student Goes Undercover at Pegatron iPhone Factory

Every wonder what it’s really like to make iPhones in a Chinese factory? New York University student Dejian Zeng found out by working in one for 6 weeks for a summer project. BusinessInsider interviewed him about the experience, where he discussed the daily life of a worker. He shared a dorm with 7 people, worked 12 hour shifts, did repetitive tasks, and got paid more than the minimum wage. “I mean, it’s simple,” he said, “but that’s the work that you do. Over, over, over again. For whole days.” He also described being on an assembly line ramping up a new product, an experience that was punctuated by hours of boredom waiting for the next unit to work on. It’s an excellent read—I’m writing it up as a Cool Stuff Found, rather than a full article, because I want to encourage everyone to read it. Plus, these kinds of manufacturing jobs are not going to come back to the U.S., at least not for humans to do.