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Research suggests Apple could afford to build iPhones in the US

According to reports, Steve Jobs told President Obama about Apple's plan to manufacture its devices in China, saying, "Those jobs ain't coming back." But a new report argues that making Apple devices in the United States is at least feasible. A publication from the University of Manchester says that if Apple brought its operation back to the United States, it would be able to still make a gross margin of at least 50% on the iPhone.

The catch? That's less than Apple's making right now, and the company would need to pay US wages for the eight hours of labor it takes to make each iPhone. So it's a question of priorities -- at this point, Apple has no problem sending more money overseas, as long as it can keep its huge margin on hardware sold.

The report concludes that, while the current arrangement is great for Apple and its stockholders, the company's cash hoard doesn't bode well for the US economy as a whole, and only marginally benefits China. After building such a profitable manufacturing plan, it's doubtful Apple will reconsider and think about bringing iPhone factories back to the US. But it would certainly be better for this country and its economy in the future.

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