In addition, no American consumer would want to pay the resulting price for the iPhone or iPad. This is equally true of Apple as it is of other U.S.-based computer companies like Dell and HP.
China, on the other hand, has spent decades building much of its economy around attracting these jobs because of the massive size of its labor force, and a massive multi-billion dollar, multi-country supply chain has sprung up in Asia to support it. No American president can ever or will ever change this, nor should we want them to.
In 2011, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that for every iPad or iPhone manufactured, workers in China added $10 or less to the value of that device. On an iPad, they found that American workers add $162 worth of value, and on an iPhone it was more than twice that much. (Here's a PDF of their paper.)
Let's start with semiconductor manufacturing. Many American workers have jobs building chips that go into Apple's many products. For instance, Intel, at the close of its 2014 fiscal year, had nearly 107,000 employees, more than half of which were located in the U.S. It sold nearly $35 billion worth of chips that are the primary computing engine in Apple's computers and another $14 billion worth of chips that went into servers used to run Internet services like Apple's iCloud and Google's Gmail, and — while we're at it — Facebook and Twitter, too.
Intel's chips are arguably the most complex piece of technology ever devised by the human mind, and manufacturing them is a hugely expensive and complex process. The majority of its manufacturing footprint — about 70 percent of it — is at plants in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Massachusetts.* One factory is in Israel, and some of Intel's less-sophisticated chips are turned out by plants in China, but for the most part, Intel chips are American-made.
Now let's turn to the iPhone and iPad. The primary chips in each are the Apple A9. Designed by Apple's own internal engineers, the chips are manufactured not by Apple, but by Samsung of South Korea. But where are the chips built? Some in Korea, yes, but a significant portion — we don't know the precise mix — are built by American workers at a huge Samsung plant in Austin, Texas, while more may come from a GlobalFoundries factory in East Fishkill, New York.
Don't confuse chipmaking with phone-assembling, either. Both are done on an assembly line, but chipmaking is one of the most complicated and specialized jobs human beings can do. Final assembly is mind-numbing and requires no skills other than having working fingers.
The outsides of the iPhone and iPad are American-made too. The shatter-resistant glass that you touch every time you use one is a product called Gorilla Glass. It was invented in America and is made by American workers at a company called Corning with plants in Kentucky and New York.