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iPhones Are Already Patriotic – Bloomberg

Is building the same as manufacturing? How about assembling?

These are esoteric questions, but they appear to be of great import to Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook.

“It’s not true that iPhone isn’t built in the United States,” he said in an interview with Recode and MSNBC this week.

Cook’s not just the boss of Apple. He was previously in charge of its supply chain, so he knows more about how an iPhone is built than anyone on the planet (except maybe current COO Jeff Williams.)

I see where he’s coming from. Cook is rightfully frustrated with the perceived wisdom that the iPhone is a Chinese-made product, and Apple doesn’t get enough credit for all the work that’s done in the U.S.

Unfortunately, Apple spells out the provenance of its products in its own annual report.

“While some Mac computers are manufactured in the U.S. and Ireland, substantially all of the Company’s hardware products are currently manufactured by outsourcing partners that are located primarily in Asia.”

Not helping matters is the inscription on the back of every iPhone: Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.

Cook’s problem is that the word design (or engineer) isn’t as politically compelling as manufacturing, assembling or building.

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