There are many great things about Apple. Just ask any one of their legions of fans and followers worldwide. The Apple Cult, to use the more widely recognized term. With sleek designs closer to art than technology, programming so user-friendly a five-year-old could use them, literally in the case of Steve Jobs’ daughter Lisa, and a built in anti-viral software to put the Berlin Wall to shame in terms of resistance, there is a lot to love about an Apple.

As with all things however, there are, or at least were, some things that were not so great. Such as the intentional incompatibility with any other programs or hardware, abysmal battery life and made-to-break power cords and on switches.

Another of Apple’s lesser known, or at least less acknowledged, sins was they were one of the first major technology companies outside Asia, to out-source production of their component parts to China, which in addition to that countries horrid human rights record, took manufacturing jobs out of the United States.

New Order

Everyone knew that Tim Cook, who seemed to come out of nowhere despite having been with the company since the late-1990s, would shake things up when he took over. Something no one predicted was what he would do with regards to component parts.

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While still in charge of designing their own parts, including the processor for the sparkling new iPhone 7, the actual making of the chips and such has been contracted to a company called TSMC, headquartered in Taiwan.

Apple supplier headquartered in Asia

“Head-quartered” is a very important term, as while the company is based in Taiwan, this is not to imply that their products are made there. Realizing that the moldy old model of microchip manufacturers, also owning the patents on the chips they made, was archaic and increasingly untenable as the cost and complexity of chip design increased, this Apple supplier did something rather brilliant.

While keeping their name on it and collecting the money from the contract, TSMC sub-contracted the actual, physical putting together of the products, and outsourced to third-party factories. Much as how the majority of major ‘film studios’ these days are actually distribution companies handling the creation of production companies, who in turn have contract with various production unions who actually make things happen.

But, production happens right at home

So, while the contracts technically go to a company located in Asia, the majority of the production done for that company is done in factories located in the United States. Which is where Apple is located.

An American company having component parts made in America by American workers working for an American wage, under contract with a Taiwan-based company at Taiwanese contracting prices. It does not look as if there could be a down side.

The down side

One of the things that always stood out about Apple were their prices. Almost always reaching over $1,000 despite the savings of using Chinese-made parts. Turns out that this did keep the prices lower, at least in comparison.

Despite technically being done though a Taiwanese company, this new arrangement for component parts is a large part of the reason that Apple prices have gone up recently and one cannot even buy a replacement cord for under $100. You can get a new cord for a P.C. for between $7 and $40 depending on the exact model and whether you need the entire cord or just half of it.

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Trevor McNeil spent much of his childhood playing video-games on early-form personal computers back when the disks were literally floppy. He attended the University of Victoria, completing a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Technology In Society, while also writing for the campus newspaper. He has written articles for such diverse publications as Humanity Death Watch, PopMatters and Perfect Sound Forever. He is a veteran of numerous “watershed moments” in the history of technological development and firmly believes that Han shot first.

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