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Apple has revealed plans to start producing a line of Mac computers here in the U.S. next year.  

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the move in an interview airing tonight on NBC's Rock Center. Although Apple used to make computers here in the U.S., Cook suggests he views this as a startup operation. As he explains it, "The consumer electronics world was really never here, and so it's not a matter of bringing it back -- it's a matter of starting it here."

The Apple chief tells NBC that the U.S. needs to beef up its manufacturing skills so companies can find the workers they need. Cook's late predecessor Steve Jobs had long advanced that same argument, and even promoted it over a dinner with President Obama.  

During his third debate with Mitt Romney in October, Mr. Obama pushed the idea along. "If we're not training engineers to make sure that they are equipped here in this country," he contended, "then companies won't come here."

Apparently, Apple is finding enough skilled labor to produce at least a small line of Mac computers. Bloomberg Businessweek reports Apple is set to spend $100 million next year to move those manufacturing jobs from China to the U.S.

Cook didn't say exactly where the Macs will be made, but just last month, news stories circulated that Foxconn -- which assembles iPhones and iPads for Apple in China -- was scouting prospective sites in the U.S. for future manufacturing plants.

In September, the Sacramento Business Journal reported that hiring had mysteriously been ramped up by 50 percent at an Apple facility there. Interestingly, that site was once used by Apple to make computers -- before the work was outsourced to China in 2004.

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