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Apple to Make Macs in America

The company estimates that it’s created more than 600,000 jobs in the US – both directly and indirectly

After "Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in USA" tags were spotted on some new iMacs, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed Thursday that production of one of the company's existing Mac lines is moving to the US.

Production will ramp up next year. Apple is investing $100 million to produce the things here and will subcontract the work out.

He told Bloomberg BusinessWeek, "We've been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We're really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it's broader because we wanted to do something more substantial."

The company estimates that it's created more than 600,000 jobs in the US - both directly and indirectly.

Cook told NBC that he felt it was important to create more jobs in the US, which is struggling with 8% unemployment, but he said he can't move all of Apple's manufacturing back from China because America has forgotten how to make things and hasn't got the educational system for modern manufacturing.

He said the reason manufacturers like Apple left the US for Asia wasn't the cheaper labor costs, it was the loss in manufacturing skills and since consumer electronics makers weren't major manufacturers here it's not a matter of coming back but starting up.

He hopes the new Mac project will spur others to bring manufacturing back to the US.

He didn't say which Mac will be produced or where.

Apple originally made its boxes here and so did Steve Jobs when he started NeXT. Apple then went to outsourcing, then hired contract manufacturers overseas. It assembled iMacs in California until 2004.

Now labor costs in China and transportation costs from the Orient are rising.

Cook will give his first on-air interview since being named CEO last year to Brian Williams on NBC Thursday night at 10 o'clock Eastern. It's already posted on the network's web site.

Hinting of the future Cook told Williams, "When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years. It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."

He also told Williams, "I loved Steve dearly, and miss him dearly. And one of the things he did for me, that removed a gigantic burden that would have normally existed, is he told me, on a couple of occasions before he passed away, to never question what he would have done. Never ask the question, ‘What Steve would do,' to just do what's right."

When Jobs called Cook in August of 2011 and told him that he would recommend Cook as CEO and that he would serve as chairman Cook said, "I asked him about different scenarios to understand how he wanted to be involved as chairman. He said, ‘I want to make this clear. I saw what happened when Walt Disney passed away. People looked around, and they kept asking what Walt would have done.' He goes, ‘The business was paralyzed, and people just sat around in meetings and talked about what Walt would have done.' He goes, ‘I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what's right.' He was very clear."

Apparently both men thought Jobs' health was stable and that he would be chairman for a long time. He died that October.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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