One of the strangest talking points of Donald Trump’s incomprehensible presidential campaign has to be his plan to force Apple to bring iPhone production back to the United States. Trump has made plenty of vague promises throughout his campaign, but during his Super Tuesday victory speech, he doubled down on this one.
“I’m going to get Apple to start making their computers and their iPhones on our land, not in China,” Trump told an attendee on Tuesday. “How does it help us when they make it in China?”
As Business Insider notes, Obama discussed the idea of building iPhones in the U.S. with Steve Jobs back in 2011. Jobs explained to Obama that the company had considered it, but it just wasn’t a viable strategy.
Here are all the reasons why Apple doesn’t build in the U.S.:
- 90% of the parts that make up an iPhone are manufactured in other countries. Even if the final assembly took place in the United States, Apple would still have to get its hands on hundreds of components from overseas, and if there were any issues with the suppliers, they would take significantly longer to resolve with the assembly plants half a world away.
- Chinese workers simply understand manufacturing better than American workers, especially when it comes to smartphones. It would take years to develop a workforce even a fraction of the size of China’s.
- Chinese factories take steps to ensure that their workers are always on call, which means that any sudden catastrophes or rush orders will be taken care of nearly instantaneously. Overtime is also standard at these factories.
- Workers also make less in China, even when working longer hours. It’s a sad truth of the industry, but nevertheless, I would imagine you’d be hard-pressed to find an American worker willing to put in 60+ hours a week for a monthly wage of less than $1,000.
- And with all of the added cost to hire workers, train workers, build the facilities and ship components overseas, the final price of the iPhone would go up as much as $50, according to Motherboard.
Untenable would be a charitable description of Trump’s “plan” — a plan which appears to consist of telling Apple to do something and expecting them to do it. As a businessman worth potentially billions of dollars, you would think Trump would understand why Apple would be building its products overseas in the first place.