Is This Apple’s Secret Made-in-USA Project?

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Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) planned manufacturing move to the U.S. will involve the production of the Mac mini line at a stateside Foxconn facility, according to a new report. Digitimes said the $100 million investment will start seeing action next year. A second report from the same publication, which has a slightly blemished record when it comes to rumors, added that Apple was planning to switch its mobile devices to Sharp IGZO display panels next year.

What’s Behind the Production Move?

Earlier this month, Apple chief executive Tim Cook had announced that the company was serious about moving the production of a Mac line back home to the U.S. Foxconn, Apple’s main manufacturing partner, has several locations in the country, including factories in California and Texas, and will continue to help Apple, according to the latest report. As far as the display switch goes, Sharp is reportedly the main supplier, with help coming from Innolux Corporation and AU Optroics (NYSE:AUO).

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What May be the Impact?

Apple has been estimated to be shipping 1.4 million Mac mini units this year, and the number may go up to 1.8 million units in 2013, according to DigiTimes. While the numbers remain small, Mac mini shipments grew 40 percent in 2012 from the year before and, if predictions are right, will rise another 30 percent next year. The Mac mini does not sell as much the iMac, but the smaller scale of production will undoubtedly help Apple better gauge the effects of the change.

The Sharp deal, if it goes through, will help Apple reduce its dependence on smartphone rival Samsung (SSNLF.PK) as a manufacturing partner.

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