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Mysterious 'Assembled in USA' label spotted on new iMac models

Has Apple begun building some of its iMacs in the US?

Electronics website iFixit published its teardown of the new 21.5in iMac on Friday, giving the all-in-one desktop computer a low repair score of just 3 out of 10. But another interesting detail spotted in the report is that the iMac being tested is labelled as being assembled in the USA.

And it's not just iFixit's iMac that has an "Assembled in the USA" label, says 9To5Mac. A Fortune reader said that his iMac, which was purchased at a California Apple Store, is marked "Assembled in USA" rather than in China. Business Insider's Jay Yarrow also pointed an "Assembled in USA" out on Twitter on Saturday.

When similar labels appeared on iMacs as far back as 2006, it was concluded that only built-to-order computers that got their final assembly in the US had the label, but this time, some of the iMacs were shop bought entry-level models, disproving the theory.

The Federal Trade Commission says that the label "Assembled in the USA" should only be used when the product undergoes a "substantial transformation".

Giving an example of this, FTC states: "All the major components of a computer, including the motherboard and hard drive, are imported. The computer's components then are put together in a simple "screwdriver" operation in the US, are not substantially transformed under the Customs Standard, and must be marked with a foreign country of origin. An "Assembled in the US" claim without further qualification is deceptive."

So, unless the company is being deceptive in its marketing, a significant part of the iMac's manufacturing process is occurring in the US.

Apple's Elk Grove site in California has seen its employees double over the last year, though none of the new job positions were for manufacturing. Apple has also been hiring at its Austin, Texas campus, where its mobile chips are made by Samsung.

It is also believed that Apple manufacturer Foxconn has plans to begin assembling products in US factories.

See also:

Apple's media business is a 'significant' money spinner Apple's Tim Cook to appear in first TV interview as CEO this week Fadell: Apple never anticipated iPod's success leading to iPhone Apple's iTunes 11 adds evidence to 2013 launch of iRadio music streaming service Apple's iPad mini, iPhone 5 head to China


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