theodp writes: At his Last Supper with Steve Jobs, reports the NY Times, President Obama had a question for Jobs: What would it take to make iPhones in the United States? 'Those jobs aren't coming back,' Jobs replied. The president's question touched upon a central conviction at Apple: It isn't just that workers are cheaper abroad; Apple execs believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that Made in the U.S.A.' is no longer a viable option for most Apple products. 'The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,' a former Apple exec gushed, describing how 8,000 workers were once roused from company dormitories at midnight to address a last-minute Apple design change, given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. 'There's no American plant that can match that.' What's vexed Obama as well as economists and policy makers is that Apple — and many of its hi-tech peers — are not nearly as avid in creating American jobs as other famous companies were in their heydays. 'We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems,' a current Apple exec is quoted as saying. 'Our only obligation is making the best product possible.'
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year manufactured overseas. "It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad," write Charles Duhig and Keith Bradsher. "Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have outpaced their American counterparts so much that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products." Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option and recount the time Apple redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day. “The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” says one Apple executive. “There’s no American plant that can match that.” Apple’s success has benefited the US economy by empowering entrepreneurs and creating jobs at companies like cellular providers and businesses shipping Apple products but ultimately, Apple executives say curing unemployment is not Apple's job. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”"
langelgjm writes: While much of the web is focused on the SOPA and PIPA blackout, supporters of the public domain today quietly lost a protracted struggle that began back in 2001.The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision, rejected the argument that Congress did not have the power to convey copyright upon works that were already in the public domain. The suit was originally filed to challenge provisions that the U.S. adopted when signing the TRIPs agreement. Justices Breyer and Alito dissented, arguing that conveyed copyright on already existing works defied the logic of copyright law. Justice Kagan recused herself. The text of the opinions is available here (PDF).
i4u writes: This year has seen the explosive birth of a new kind of mobile device. Dual-core superphones are almost impossibly powerful compared to even the immediate previous generation of handsets. There's a reason the Atrix launched with a laptop dock as a key feature. 'Mobile' doesn't mean 'underpowered' anymore. If you want more out of your smartphone, you want one of these six behemoths.
Health insurance reform plans that build on a mix of private and public health insurance, where costs are shared among government, employers, and enrollees would have great potential to move the system to high performance and would be the most practical to implement according to a new report.