2013 Mac Pro Launch Was 'Postponed' Due Partly to Shortage of 'Made in USA' Screws

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The New York Times today published a story explaining why Apple is unlikely to manufacture more of its products in the United States.


    The report reveals an interesting anecdote about the latest Mac Pro. In late 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted that the computer would be "Made in the USA," but sales were supposedly postponed by months in part because Apple could not secure enough custom screws for the computer from U.S.-based suppliers.

    A machine shop in Texas tasked with the job could produce at most 1,000 screws a day, according to the report. By the time the computer was ready for mass production, this shortage gave Apple little choice but to order screws from China where factories can produce vast quantities of custom screws on short notice.

    Apple's manufacturing partner eventually turned to another Texas supplier in Caldwell Manufacturing, which was hired to make 28,000 screws, the report adds. That company delivered 28,000 screws over 22 trips, with its owner Stephen Melo often "making the one-hour drive himself in his Lexus sedan."

    The report goes on to describe how the United States struggles to compete with China's combination of scale, skills, infrastructure, and cost. In short, American workers are typically more expensive and unwilling to work around the clock.

    In response to the report, an Apple spokesperson told The New York Times that Apple was "an engine of economic growth in the United States" that spent $60 billion last year with 9,000 American suppliers, helping to support 450,000 jobs.

    Apple has promised to release a new Mac Pro in 2019, but it's unclear where it will be manufactured.

    Update: MacRumors has obtained Apple's full statement regarding this topic, consistent with a press release it has shared on Apple Newsroom:
    Article Link: 2013 Mac Pro Launch Was 'Postponed' Due Partly to Shortage of 'Made in USA' Screws
  2. mozumder, Jan 28, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019

    mozumder macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2009
    As it should be.

    America isn't a manufacturing economy. If China can make things cheaper, LET THEM.

    Americans spend thousands of dollars publicly on each citizen to teach them things like calculus and fine arts and literature so that they DON'T have to do things like manual assembly labor.

    How many millennials do you know are willing to work doing manual labor like picking strawberries or cleaning toilets or assembling houses? Nobody in America wants to do that at ANY price - and that's confirmed by employers having difficulty finding workers to fill those roles.

    Let other unskilled people in countries do those kind of work. Let's open the borders so that low-skilled people can come in and do the manual labor that Americans don't want to do.

    This is the optimum global economic strategy. I have no idea why Apple thought it was a good idea to manufacture in the US when it was obvious China (or other places in Asia) was a better option.
  3. multipasser macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2010

    Lol, so what are you then?
  4. Bustycat macrumors regular


    Jan 21, 2015
    Kaohsiung, Taiwan
    A postponed workstation sold for over 5 years without any major update?!:rolleyes:
  5. DrJohnnyN macrumors 65816


    Jan 27, 2010
    Is there a large demand for a Mac Pro? I'm genuinely curious.
  6. usersince86 macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2002
    Columbus, Ohio
    They should have postponed it a little longer to make what pros wanted.

    OK, there's your snarky comment... :D
  7. Marco Klobas macrumors member

    Marco Klobas

    Jul 14, 2017
    Let's hope the 2019 modular Mac Pro will not suffer similar shortage issues.
  8. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    What the hell did I just read? I think I need a refresher on my morning coffee.
  9. jimothyGator macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
  10. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009
    The better question is why did it need custom screws in the first place...
  11. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
    It’s always the screws, like the iMac Pro VESA mount screws from last year.
  12. pavelbure macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2007
    This is funny, for decades these companies outsourced everything under the sun, but then come back and ask area manufacturers to make a product for them that they are not set up to do anymore.

    I’ve been in manufacturing for 25 years and have seen first hand the devastation this outsourcing has done to these companies and people.
  13. blacktape242 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
  14. sirozha macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2008
    Where do you live? Just wondering.

    There are plenty of millennials who would work in the manufacturing. Take a car ride outside your bubble.
  15. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    There is a demand for a Mac Pro. There is not a demand for the current Mac Pro.
  16. Grey Area macrumors regular

    Jan 14, 2008
    I get the point of the article in general, but by singling out that "custom screw" I cannot help but wonder what kind of weird screw they are talking about, and whether the Mac Pro could not have been designed to use normal screws.
  17. anthogag macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2015
    If these excuses from Apple are true it is quite defeatist and lame. Apple should be making a significant amount of its stuff in NA. China is not a democracy and their political system is stuck in another era.
  18. NY Guitarist macrumors 65816

    NY Guitarist

    Mar 21, 2011
    Perhaps trying to mass produce a product using custom screws wasn't very smart.
  19. Manzanito macrumors regular


    Apr 9, 2010
    At first, sure, demand must have been high. At least higher than supply. After all, the last real refresh of the mac pro came in 2010, that’s three years of pent up demand.
  20. yaxomoxay macrumors 68030


    Mar 3, 2010
    Please. The US is a powerhouse.


    Manufacturing jobs:
    that is more than 12,500,000 jobs.
  21. PG(Austin) macrumors regular


    Sep 24, 2004
    Austin, TX
    "The report goes on to describe how the United States struggles to compete with China's combination of scale, skills, infrastructure, and cost. In short, American workers are typically more expensive and unwilling to work around the clock."​

    We can thank american corporations for sending manufacturing away. They, and the government, created this struggle plain and simple, now to keep up with the even higher demand and just on time manufacturing, they HAVE to go to China and other third world countries. Our society's urging EVERY kid to go to a 4 year college for a degree, now they can graduate with 5-6 figure student debt and try to pay it off working retail and fast food. College isn't the end all be all. We have shifted focus from trades and manufacturing jobs so much, now the up and coming generations couldn't figure their way out of a cardboard box because they have book smarts. They can work their smartphones and Facebook like a champ though.

    And yeah, American workers are "unwilling" to be taken advantage of like the Chinese workers are forced to do via their own culture. Expensive comes from the "American Dream".... I have no idea what the Chinese dream is.
  22. mdelrossi macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2005

    What other "Custom" parts are used that could easily be replaced with "off the shelf" parts, and possibly, wait for it , reduce the cost of Apple products?
  23. Baymowe335 macrumors 68040

    Oct 6, 2017
    This is one reason iPhone production can never move to the US.

    The US is simply incapable of producing complex units of tech at that scale. We are good at other stuff. The Chinese are good at production of technology.

    The US doesn't have the workforce with the skillset and the other parts necessary aren't produced in the next building over like in China.
  24. fmillion macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2011
    Wasn't it supposed to be "assembled in the USA"? Honestly, doesn't that just mean all the parts are gathered and put together in the USA?

    I mean, unless I'm completely out of touch, almost the entire computer consists of components manufactured in other countries, right? I hate to say it, but what's a few screws? More specifically, what exactly is expected to be done in the USA?

    Also, I'm genuinely curious: 28,000 screws in 22 trips? What kind of screws are these? That averages around 1,300 screws per trip. Even if they're BIG screws that run the entire length of the case, you could easily fit 1,300 of them in a small box. Why 22 trips? Didn't that actually add to the expense?

    I can't speak for everyone, but from people I know I feel there is demand, but not for what Apple is delivering. The pro Mac lines have always been known for easy internal access for upgrades and reconfiguration. Apple kept true to that until the 2013 Mac Pro, but now about the only thing you can upgrade is RAM. The storage is still proprietary. And as for expansion cards, now they just assume everyone will be fine with double-or-triple-the-cost (compared to PCIe cards) Thunderbolt expansions hanging off their machine like octopus tentacles. I know Apple's been constantly pushing for a closed system, but this honestly doesn't jive with pros, and many design people I know are switching to custom built PCs and learning the Adobe CC suite.

    Apple's losing the pro market, and honestly it doesn't even seem like they care. The current Mac Pro is running Ivy Bridge CPUs. I just bought a used server with 24 cores (48 threads) of Ivy Bridge Xeon CPUs and 64GB of ECC RAM for $500. PC workstations based on Haswell or even Skylake easily sell for under $1.5K. At this point, the only reason you go with Mac is because you just know the Mac apps (Logic, Final Cut Pro, etc.) and don't have time to relearn (although Apple doesn't mind making you relearn, see FCP 7 -> FCPX or Logic 9 -> Logic X), or you are an Apple fanatic who's willing to pay top dollar for their design that looks like a freakin trash can.

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