Apple uses U.S.-made 'engine' for iPhone, iPad

The single most important internal component for the iPhone and iPad is already manufactured in the U.S.

Apple gets key chips for the iPad from U.S.-based manufacturing sources.
Apple gets key chips for the iPad from U.S.-based manufacturing sources. Brooke Crothers

Key chips for the iPhone and iPad are being made in the U.S. -- future U.S.-made Macs, as disclosed today , notwithstanding.

This year, CEO Tim Cook has been talking about U.S. manufacturing more than usual. Partly to counter Apple's largely make-it-in-China strategy but also because of U.S. manufacturing strengths.

The same essential points he made in a Bloomberg interview today he made back in May.

To wit: "It's not known well that the engine for the iPhone and iPad is made in the U.S., and many of these are also exported.... The glass is made in Kentucky," he said today to Bloomberg.

Making the "engine" -- essentially the Apple A5 and A6 chips -- is something the U.S. excels at. Intel fabricates the engines for the Mac and PC industry at multibillion-dollar "fabs" (or fabrication facilities) in the U.S. And Globalfoundries and IBM make processors on a smaller scale in New York.

In Apple's case, the A5 and A6 processors are made in Texas (by Samsung presumably, though Apple has never confirmed this).

And it's no mistake that Apple wants this high-end, high-tech production in the U.S. Processor tech is arguably the single most important thing inside the iPad and iPhone. That's why Apple has taken control of the design and has spent millions of dollars acquiring companies to get that expertise.

And it's also no mistake that Apple has been talking to Intel about manufacturing future Apple chips. Indeed, it makes sense to hook up the world's premier device company with the world's premier chipmaker.

That, along with more U.S.-based Mac assembly, could make Apple's production footprint in the U.S. a lot bigger than it has been in a long time.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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