(By Balachander) Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) move to shift manufacturing of some Mac computers to the U.S. next year is likely to represent "neglible" part of production, according to information and analytics company IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a media interview that his company will shift manufacturing of one computer line from Asia to the United States starting next year.
Cook didn't outline where the manufacturing would happen or how much would be produced in the U.S.
But the scale and magnitude of the move is not expected to be major, according to IHS.
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"The percentage of production likely to be shifted by Apple from Asia to the United States in 2013 is likely to be negligible, both for the company and for PC industry at large," said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for computer systems at IHS.
Stice said Apple's move appears to be a symbolic effort to help improve its public image, which has been battered in recent years by reports of labor issues at its contract manufacturing partners in Asia.
"However, given Apple's high profile in the market, the company's ‘insourcing' initiative could compel other companies to follow suit and transfer production to the United States over the next few years," wrote Stice.
In the global PC market, Apple holds the sixth spot, with a 5.8 percent share of global shipments in the third quarter of 2012.
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With the vast majority of PCs now being produced in Asia by contract manufacturers, Apple's move is unlikely to spur a major shift in production from Asia to the United States.
Apple makes extensive use of contact manufacturing services, with all of its production of notebook PCs outsourced to Quanta Computer Inc., Foxconn Electronics Inc. and occasionally Pegatron Corp.
The company also uses other Asia-based contract manufacturers, notably Foxconn, for production of its other popular product lines, the iPhone and iPad.
If Apple only moves production of one segment of its Macintosh product line, as reports indicate, IHS said the total shift in cost of goods sold (COGS) could amount to less than 1 percent in 2013. "Still, the move has some precedent in other circles," IHS said.
Jeffrey Wu, senior analyst for OEM research at IHS, said Apple would be less inclined to shift production of other, smaller products to the United States.
"I cannot imagine that Apple will transfer the manufacturing of its highly standardized and much slimmer products — i.e., iPhones, iPads and iPods —back to the United States in the near future," Wu added.
AAPL shares, which have been trading in the 52-week range of $377.68 to $705.07, retreated 2.96 percent to trade at $531.06 on Friday.