It’s uncertain what would prompt the exception, although Apple had staunchly opposed the earlier proposal. It sent a letter to Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer warning that the tariffs could increase costs, raise prices and put it at a “disadvantage” to some foreign competitors. Apple chief Tim Cook dined with Trump in August, but it’s not certain if anything resulted from that meeting.
The Trump administration is expected to list its new tariffs within the next few days, possibly as early as September 17th. If they do include an exception for companies like Apple, though, Trump’s dismissal of Apple’s objections won’t amount to much. The company might just get what it wanted all along, even if other American firms aren’t so lucky.
Update: The new tariffs are official, and the leak was accurate: certain tech products like smartwatches aren’t affected by the new measures.