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Tom Nelson

Where Do Apple Refurbs Come From?

By January 13, 2010

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In part one, We Take Apple's Refurbished Mac Store for a Spin, Mary and I decided to order a 27-inch iMac from Apple's refurb store. Once we received shipping notification, we wondered: Where will the iMac come from? (Since it's a refurb, it could be coming from almost anywhere. Even new Macs don't all come from the same location.) We waited impatiently from Saturday (the day we ordered the iMac) until Monday afternoon, when the FedEx web site finally revealed the starting point of our iMac's journey: Sacramento, California. More than likely, it's actually coming from the Apple campus in nearby Elk Grove.

Where Do Apple Refurbs Come From?

Apple's Elk Grove Facility
Courtesy of Google Maps

The campus at Elk Grove, which occupies nearly 28 acres, is one of Apple's logistic centers. Among other things, it contains three mammoth warehouses that both receive supplies and serve as one of Apple's west coast distribution centers. Elk Grove was once Apple's main manufacturing facility, and was well known as the home of the major production line for the original iMac.

The Elk Grove facility has an interesting history. It was first set up in 1992 as Apple's major manufacturing facility, and marked the move of Apple manufacturing from Fremont to the central valley of California. The reason for the move was the potential for a catastrophic earthquake on the Hayward Fault, which runs near Fremont. In the event of an earthquake, Apple wanted to ensure that production could continue without major interruption.

In 2004, the manufacturing facility at Elk Grove, which included a 198,000 sq. ft. printed circuit facility, was closed down. Apple chose to move manufacturing to third parties in Southern California and around the world. The G5 Macs were some of the last Macs made in Elk Grove.

In May of 2008, Apple consolidated iPhone sales and support, some of which was located on the Elk Grove campus, to facilities in Austin, Texas.

So now that we know where our iMac is coming from, we can move on to tracking its next stop. Let's hope it's not Reno, Nevada. Who knows what could happen in 'The Biggest Little City in the World.'

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