Apple moves Mac Pro production from Texas to China


Mac Pro manufacturing —

Apple makes new Mac Pro in China despite Trump’s tariff threat.


A Mac Pro with its cover off, showing the internal components.

Enlarge/An inside view of the new Mac Pro.

Apple

Apple is manufacturing the new Mac Pro in China, marking a change from the previous Mac Pro that was made in the US.

Apple made the previous Mac Pro in Austin, Texas beginning in 2013. But with the new Mac Prounveiled this monthbeing made in China, Apple is “shifting abroad production of what had been its only major device assembled in the US as trade tensions escalate between the Trump administration and Beijing,” The Wall Street Journalreported today.

“The tech giant has tapped contractor Quanta Computer Inc. to manufacture the $6,000 desktop computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai,” according to the Journal’s sources. “Quanta’s facility is close to other Apple suppliers across Asia, making it possible for Apple to achieve lower shipping costs than if it shipped components to the US.”

Apple told the Journal that it designs and engineers the new Mac Pro in the US and that the computer includes some US-made components. “Final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process,” Apple said, according to the Journal.

President Trump hasurgedApple to make more products in the US and his administration plans 25 percent tariffson products imported from China. Apple last weekurged the US governmentto avoid issuing the new tariff,sayingit would make production of iPhones, iPads, Macs, AirPods, and Apple TVs more expensive.

We contacted Apple this morning and will update this story if we get a response.

Appleunveiledthe new Mac Pro at its  Worldwide Developers Conference on June 3, and the company says it will be released in the fall. These pictures from the event (taken by Senior Reviews Editor Samuel Axon) show what the new hardware look like upon final assembly:

  • This is the new Mac Pro.


    Samuel Axon

  • And here’s a rear view.


    Samuel Axon

  • Let’s zoom in to see some of the ports in this configuration.


    Samuel Axon

  • There’s more to see at the bottom.


    Samuel Axon

  • On top, you’ll notice a couple more ports, a power button, and this handle. When you grab it, you can twist and pull the entire cover off in one motion for 360-degree access to the internals.


    Samuel Axon

  • This is what the frame looks like with nothing in it.


    Samuel Axon

  • These stands can be replaced with wheels, optionally.


    Samuel Axon

  • The cheese-grater design serves a cooling function, but it’s also a deliberate nod to the past.


    Samuel Axon

  • OK, from this angle, it really does look like an ultra-shiny cheese grater.


    Samuel Axon

Problems in US production

In May 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cookconfirmedplans to make a new Mac computer in Texas and said the company would spend $100 million to bring manufacturing stateside. But Apple ran into problems with the US-based Mac production.

Apple “struggled to find enough screws” when it began making the 2013 Mac Pro, a New York Times articleexplained. “Tests of new versions of the computer were hamstrung because a 20-employee machine shop that Apple’s manufacturing contractor was relying on could produce at most 1,000 screws a day.” The screw shortage and other problems caused a months-long delay in Mac Pro sales.

We have begun manufacturing the Mac Pro in Austin. It’s the most powerful Mac ever. Orders start tomorrow.pic.twitter.com/Jrd1Gic3Ya

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook)December 18, 2013

The design of the 2013 Mac Pro was also a problem. In 2017, Apple executive Craig Federighitold journaliststhat “we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner,” as the Mac Pro’s cooling systems weren’t able to handle powerful GPUs. The computer also didn’t have the kind of modularity and expandability demanded by pro customers.

Mac Pro sales were also not helped by the lack of a major upgrade for more than five years. “Making the new model in China isn’t likely to affect many workers in Texas because demand for the old Mac Pro had fizzled years ago,” the Journal wrote today. The Texas facility run by Apple contractor Flex had “shifted to refurbishing already-made computers” and “continues to make products for HP Inc. and other companies.”

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