Apple will release a line of computers built entirely in the United States, CEO Tim Cook told NBC’s Brian Williams in an interview that will air Thursday night on Williams’ newsmagazine “Rock Center.”
Cook did not specify which line of computers would be domestically born and bred, but he said it would be an existing line. He also said that Apple has been looking to do more in the United States for years, citing the glass from an iPhone as an example. That glass is made in Kentucky.
“When you back up and look at Apple’s effect on job creation in the United States, we estimate that we’ve created more than 600,000 jobs now,” Cook said in his first extended television interview since taking over for Steve Jobs last year.
Cook said roughly the same things in an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which appeared Thursday morning.
“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 engine, the processor,” Cook said, again citing the Kentucky glass. He told BusinessWeek that Apple and affiliated companies would invest more than $100 million into U.S. production on that Mac line.
Labor advocates, analysts and journalists have assailed Apple over the past few years for sending manufacturing jobs overseas, especially to China. The New York Times and other news outlets have published numerous reports about the connection between Apple and Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, as well as the allegedly poor working conditions at Foxconn’s plants. (story continues after video)
Though many technology giants work with with Foxconn, Apple endures heightened scrutiny thanks in part to its incredible success over the past decade.
Cook noted to Bloomberg BusinessWeek that the company has enlisted the Fair Labor Association for additional audits and that the company is “working very hard to correct things.” Foxconn has agreed to open its facilities for Apple auditors and FLA auditors.
Most interpret the outsourcing of jobs to cheaper labor overseas, but Cook said it was because of domestic failings.
“It’s not so much about price, it’s about the skills,” Cook said, arguing that the consumer electronics world was never here, so it’s more a matter of starting it then bringing it back.
As for an Apple TV, the subject of persistent rumors and has yet to materialize, Cook offered another hint to NBC.
“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook told Williams. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”
Bloomberg BusinessWeek opted not to ask about it, pushing on other subjects.