As is customary with all new Apple gadgets, the folks from iFixit have torn the new, super-thin 21.5-inch iMac to bits. This time, however, the most interesting detail from the teardown was not found inside the device but etched into its casing -- a sign saying "Assembled in USA".
Most of Apple's gadgets from the last decade or so were assembled in China, which makes this marking quite unusual. Per FTC's rules, "a product that includes foreign components may be called "Assembled in USA" without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial."
FTC even gives an example that directly relates to an iMac:
"Example: All the major components of a computer, including the motherboard and hard drive, are imported. The computer’s components then are put together in a simple "screwdriver" operation in the U.S., are not substantially transformed under the Customs Standard, and must be marked with a foreign country of origin. An "Assembled in U.S." claim without further qualification is deceptive."
This could mean that, as 9to5Mac points out, Apple or its contractors have an iMac assembly plant in the U.S. -- an interesting deviation from the norm in a world where a huge majority of electronic devices are manufactured and assembled in China.
It's too early to say that manufacturing is making a comeback to the U.S., but the big IT companies are definitely looking into it. In June 2012 Google launched the Nexus Q, a social streaming player which was “designed and manufactured in the U.S.A.”
As for the rest of iFixit's teardown, it (unfortunately) reveals that the new, thinner iMacs are substantially harder to fix than the old ones, with most replaceable components (including RAM memory) being hidden behind the logic board.
December 04, 2012