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Apple's iMac: Made in the USA (Update 1)

Updated from 9:26 a.m. EST to provide analyst comments in the seventh paragraph.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) has long received criticism for manufacturing products in China as the U.S. struggles for economic growth. It appears some of that's changing, though, with the new iMac apparently being made in the USA.

Gadget Web site iFixit's teardown of the 21.5-inch iMac which went on sale on Friday has revealed the words "Assembled in USA" inside the device.

The majority of Apple's products have been made overseas in the Far East through Foxconn Technology, Apple's Asian manufacturing partner. It's possible, however, that Apple's ramping up production of some of its products in the United States, something CEO Tim Cook said he would like to see more of. In a recent conference hosted by AllThingsD, Cook was asked by Walt Mossberg if Apple would ever envision having big manufacturing plants domestically, similar to what they have in China. Cook responded by saying, "I want there to be."

Parts of the iPhone and iPad are already made domestically, but assembling the product in the U.S. is a different story. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, a product cannot use the "Assembled in the USA" claim unless:

"A product that includes foreign components may be called 'Assembled in USA' without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial. For the 'assembly' claim to be valid, the product's last 'substantial transformation' also should have occurred in the U.S. That's why a 'screwdriver' assembly in the U.S. of foreign components into a final product at the end of the manufacturing process doesn't usually qualify for the 'Assembled in USA' claim."

Consumers react well to companies that produce their products locally; at least that's the perception. If this is indeed the case, perhaps the goodwill Apple builds by producing the computers domestically will be a boost to sales. We've already seen availability dates pushed back from 1 to 3 days to 7 to 10 days, as consumers clamor for the latest desktop from Cupertino. The new iMac boasts a stunning redesign and several new features, including new Intel (INTC - Get Report) chips and a Fusion Drive.

Some on Wall Street have a favorable view towards the decision. Brian Sozzi, analyst at NBG Productions and Real Money contributor, believes Apple could benefit. He thinks it will allow "for better speed to market in a price competitive sector and much stronger monitoring of the production process," Sozzi noted in an email.

Apple announced last week the new iMac will be available by the end of November.

I've reached out to Apple for comment on this, and will update when and if I hear back.

Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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