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Trump to Cook: We’ll get you to build iPhones in US

by Todd Haselton | November 23, 2016November 23, 2016 9:00 am PST

Last January, now President-elect Donald Trump said that, if elected, he’d get Apple to build iPhones in the United States. It seemed unlikely, at least given that most of Apple’s manufacturing is currently outsourced to China, but things are starting to change.

Trump won the election and, just recently, we learned that rumors in Apple’s supply chain suggested it was looking to see how much it would cost to manufacture iPhones here instead. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Trump said he has already talked to Apple CEO Tim Cook about making iPhones in America.

Here’s what President-elect Trump told The New York Times:

“I got a call from Tim Cook at Apple, and I said, ‘Tim, you know one of the things that will be a real achievement for me is when I get Apple to build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States, where instead of going to China, and going to Vietnam, and going to places that you go to, you’re making your product right here.’ He said ‘I understand that.’ I said: ‘I think we’ll create the incentives for you, and I think you’re going to do it. We’re going for a very large tax cut for corporations, which you’ll be happy about.”

A “Made in America” iPhone?

This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has built products in the United States. In fact, it assembled some of its Mac Pro units at a plant in Texas a few years ago. It would be a drastic change, however, for Apple to bring all of its manufacturing to the United States. The likely increase in costs would probably trickle down to consumers, too, which means the price of iPhones may jump if Apple actually does this.

My guess is it won’t happen, at least not soon. China has already threatened to stop selling iPhones if Trump initiates a trade war, for example. That would hurt Apple’s sales, as would the increased costs, so Trump is going to need to find some pretty compelling incentives. Maybe we’ll see a small percentage of iPhones built in the US instead.

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...