Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: So there I am reading my tech blogs today.  I took a little break, scoured the tech blogs.  Not to delve deeply; just to see what was popping.  And I saw a headline: “Apple Could Make iPhones in U.S. in Future.”  And I said, “Whoa!  Now wait a minute.”  Remember during the campaign Trump said he was gonna make Apple make iPhones in America.  And everybody said, can’t happen, including me.  I said this cannot happen, and the reason it can’t happen — well, there are many reasons why I thought it couldn’t happen. 

I mean, I can go through some of them right now.  I mean, you could do it, but you couldn’t keep the price what they are now.  They would be significantly more expensive simply because of the volume.  We don’t have, in the United States, factory infrastructure to manufacture iPhones. Not if they were all made here. They could make a few here, if they wanted to split it up.  But the factories in China where iPhones are made, there’s two companies that make iPhones.  One’s called Hon Hai Precision, and the Anglicized name is Foxconn.  And another company is called Pegatron. 

Foxconn makes the vast majority.  They have factories where there are as many as 300,000 to 500,000 people on the assembly lines.  The iPhone is one of the greatest technological marvels in consumer electronics ever.  The amount of research and development and precision and technology in an iPhone, I guarantee you, 99% of people who use them have no idea.  Not that they should.  They just use them.  That’s what they’re for.  They just work.  But the technology in these things is mind-boggling, how far we’ve advanced, the precision of manufacturing, the miniaturization in sizes. It is mind-boggling if you get into it and find out about it. 

Apple’s procedures and manufacturing, just the cases for the phones, just the glass — well, they subcontract that out to Corning, but trust me, it’s an amazing undertaking.  They are not machine made.  Parts of them are, but the final assembly has to be done by hand.  And to manufacture these things in the quantities that Apple needs them, they have numerous factories of anywhere from a hundred thousand to 300,000 people.  And the people who work at the factories live there.  The factories are all-inclusive.  They are residential, have hospitals, parks, and they run 24/7. 

We don’t have anything like that in America.  It’s all been, I don’t want to say farmed out, but it’s the stuff that American manufacturing doesn’t do.  So, anyway, Trump on the campaign trail starts talking about jobs that have been shipped overseas, and he says he’s gonna boycott Apple, and he has been, he’s been using Samsung phones to tweet.  Gonna boycott Apple until they’re made in America, and everybody said it’s not possible, including me, certainly not to shift the entire manufacturing load. 

So I get up today and I read this and I see that the two manufacturers, Foxconn actually, has been told by Apple to look into establishing manufacturing centers in the United States for iPhones.  Now, whether it happens or not, stop and think of what has happened here.  Over the course of these many years since NAFTA, as manufacturing jobs have fled, we’ve been told it’s the way of the world.  We like buying cheap, quality products.  And we can’t manufacture those products with American labor and sell ’em at the same prices. 

And manufacturers also always want to sell at the lowest price they can while maintaining a significant profit margin, and competition forces you to do what you can to keep prices low.  Apple’s a little insulated from that because they’ve carved out a niche where they don’t mind being the most expensive in the field. They don’t mind being the most expensive smartphone, and they don’t mind that people are willing to pay a little bit more for theirs than other people pay for other brands. 

But even so, they’re very, very cost conscious.  So with just one claim by a candidate who’s now become president, now look.  Now something everybody, including me, thought no way, and somebody better tell Trump — he may not know what all goes into making an iPhone and the supply chain — look, folks, the number of parts, the number of products in a smartphone would blow you away.  And it’s not just the factories that are in China, but all of the manufacturers of all the parts are in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, they’re all over there. And if you’re at Foxconn and you need a shipment, say, of LTE modems, they’re down the road. 

The manufacturers, even if it’s Qualcomm, manufacturing’s over there, they’re down the road.  If you’re manufacturing an iPhone in America, say San Diego, you’d have to bring back onshore a lot of the parts manufacturing as well.  If you’re gonna assemble them here, the parts are gonna have to be available. It would be a massive undertaking.  But, anyway, the fact is that Apple is now, whether they mean it or not, acknowledging that they’re looking into doing it.  And they were not Trump supporters.  Well, the executive team wasn’t.  I find the whole thing fascinating.  It probably isn’t gonna happen, but they nevertheless thought it wise to float the idea that they are looking into the possibility.

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