He added that the consumer electronics world has never really had a big production presence in the U.S. As a result, it's really more about starting production in the U.S. than bringing it back, he said.
But for nearly three decades Apple made its computers in the U.S. It started outsourcing production in the mid-90s, first by selling some plants to contract manufacturers, then by hiring manufacturers overseas. It assembled iMacs in Elk Grove, Calif., until 2004.
Some Macs already say they're "Assembled in USA." That's because Apple has for years performed final assembly of some units in the U.S. Those machines are usually the product of special orders placed at its online store. The last step of production may consist of mounting hard drives, memory chips and graphics cards into computer cases that are manufactured elsewhere. With Cook's announcement Thursday, the company is set to go much further in the amount of work done in the U.S.
The news comes a day after Apple posted its worst stock drop in four years, erasing $35 billion in market capitalization. Apple's stock rose $8.45, or 1.6 percent, to close at $547.24 Thursday.
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