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Apple rumored to eventually introduce ultra-thin 15-inch notebook - Page 4

post #121 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

a spec bump costs Apple practically nothing, they update the processor, add RAM or otherwise bump the machine.

I think Apple pay more to Intel for faster CPUs, pay more for more RAM, and pay more for more capacious storage. Why do you think that a spec bump costs practically nothing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Look at it this way there is at least a 190 days before a spring release. That assumes that Intel has Ivy Bridge ready for an April launch. No one knows what is up with Ivy Bridge but it looks like it won't hit this year.

While March or April seems more likely, I would not rule out a February launch. It will depend on future Ivy Bridge yields, which can be estimated now only with considerable imprecision.
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post #122 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

I think Apple pay more to Intel for faster CPUs, pay more for more RAM, and pay more for more capacious storage. Why do you think that a spec bump costs practically nothing?.

Apple commonly replaces processors with similarly priced models. Ram prices fall and they update the stock amounts. They have a manufacturing budget you know, and good margins on the machines that they sell. That aside I don't see a ram upgrade coming until next year. I think if they were refreshing they could keep it at 4 but lower the price to go to 8 thus pushing the upgrade since the cost of ram is currently low enough to do this, and they have done similar things in the past.
post #123 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

I think Apple pay more to Intel for faster CPUs, pay more for more RAM, and pay more for more capacious storage. Why do you think that a spec bump costs practically nothing?

Not really. Think about it the new SKUs from intel aren't more expensive they just nudge all the other processors down the price scale. RAM has dropped significantly in cost over the year, with many companies struggling to stay afloat. Thus it would be easy for Apple to double they RAM in the Mac line up. Likewise the storage companies have just increased the per platter capacity of their drives, this meampns a significant drop in cost per bit.

So yeah I don't see a problem with a configuration bump at all. In fact it would be easy for Apple to go after one of these or all of them.

Quote:

While March or April seems more likely, I would not rule out a February launch. It will depend on future Ivy Bridge yields, which can be estimated now only with considerable imprecision.

Actually they can't be estimated at all as the latest rumor is a production delay. That could be BS but the whole feasability of a bump revolves around when Apple can launch with Ivy Bridge. There is a huge difference between Ivy Bridge being two months away or 6+ months away. Right now I suspect IB is farther away than it is close. I could be completely wrong about that.
post #124 of 160
That is the key question here if the major update requires IB then the question then becomes when does IB arrive? My point is this: if IB is 6-9 months away a spec bump to the current machines is very likely. The obvious flip side to that is that if IB arrives before the end of the year then no bump is required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Possible, sure, but there is also plenty of circumstantial data to suggest that a major overhaul will visit the next MBP update.


As hmm points out the MBA languished before the major overhaul.

There is a huge difference between letting a failed product languish verses ignoring your bread and butter. The old AIRs had a number of issues which where best resolved with an aggressive engineering effort. Since sales where abysmal they could easily hold off on an update. The MBP is a different story altogether, it sells well and more importantly sells to more demanding users.
post #125 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

That is the key question here if the major update requires IB then the question then becomes when does IB arrive? My point is this: if IB is 6-9 months away a spec bump to the current machines is very likely. The obvious flip side to that is that if IB arrives before the end of the year then no bump is required.

There is a huge difference between letting a failed product languish verses ignoring your bread and butter. The old AIRs had a number of issues which where best resolved with an aggressive engineering effort. Since sales where abysmal they could easily hold off on an update. The MBP is a different story altogether, it sells well and more importantly sells to more demanding users.

There are too many unknown variables to make a single educated guess that isn't qualified by a half-dozen options.

As someone who is waiting for a revamped MBP I'm pretty excited about all the new UltraBooks appearing. I'm hoping that will push Apple to release the new designs sooner rather than later as I care more about the ODD being removed (but still remaining decent internal storage which the MBAs can't give me) than I am about the latest CPU and GPU offerings.
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post #126 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There are too many unknown variables to make a single educated guess that isn't qualified by a half-dozen options.

What else would you expect from Future Hardware? All we can do is consider news reports and rumors.
Quote:
As someone who is waiting for a revamped MBP I'm pretty excited about all the new UltraBooks appearing. I'm hoping that will push Apple to release the new designs sooner rather than later

I don't think Apple gives a rats a$$ about what the competition is doing right now.
Quote:
as I care more about the ODD being removed (but still remaining decent internal storage which the MBAs can't give me) than I am about the latest CPU and GPU offerings.

A desire shared by many!!! However what I was trying to point out is that such a machine may be tied to the delivery of Ivy Bridge. It is possible this is not the case. Further even if they did do a new case I don't think they would go radically thin like the AIRs. Pro users still have the need for performance not possible in an ultra thin laptop. The new Pros might take some cues from the AIRs but they will likely appear scaled up.

Why? Because things like GPUs, Ethernet and other features are still important to Pro users. I for one would not want to give up a laptop drive bay even if the new Pros have SSD slots. In the end there is a limit to how thin the Pros will get for the foreseeable future. Well at least along one edge, I can see a significant wedge like appearance in the new chassis.

In any event I think you will be waiting awhile.
post #127 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Why? Because things like GPUs, Ethernet and other features are still important to Pro users. I for one would not want to give up a laptop drive bay even if the new Pros have SSD slots. In the end there is a limit to how thin the Pros will get for the foreseeable future. Well at least along one edge, I can see a significant wedge like appearance in the new chassis.

Right now the MBPs will take a 12.5mm HDD/SSD, mostly due to the ODD is 12.7mm. They could reduce the casing by several millimeters. How? Using the milled top panel (like in the MBA) and thinner display components could reduce it by a mm or more right there.

Then you have removing the ODD and only allowing a 9.5mm HDD/SSD (along with an SSD card for booting and apps). That will save you over 3mm more. Of course, we need to consider heat dissipation of the logic boards and fans, but Apple also has the benefit of spacing out the CPU and GPU along the backside (thickest part of the wedge) of the case chassis so that the two hottest components can dissipate heat more effectively by an elongated logic board instead of a squarish logic board.

Or if Apple really wants to go to the extreme they could move to 7mm HDDs which is also the common size of SSDs without the spacer. This removes a HDD platter reducing the overall capacity but they are at least up to 500GB, which (combined with an SSD card) I'd argue is on the cusp of being good enough for the first revised MBPs.
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post #128 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Right now the MBPs will take a 12.5mm HDD/SSD, mostly due to the ODD is 12.7mm. They could reduce the casing by several millimeters. How? Using the milled top panel (like in the MBA) and thinner display components could reduce it by a mm or more right there.

Then you have removing the ODD and only allowing a 9.5mm HDD/SSD (along with an SSD card for booting and apps). That will save you over 3mm more. Of course, we need to consider heat dissipation of the logic boards and fans, but Apple also has the benefit of spacing out the CPU and GPU along the backside (thickest part of the wedge) of the case chassis so that the two hottest components can dissipate heat more effectively by an elongated logic board instead of a squarish logic board.

Or if Apple really wants to go to the extreme they could move to 7mm HDDs which is also the common size of SSDs without the spacer. This removes a HDD platter reducing the overall capacity but they are at least up to 500GB, which (combined with an SSD card) I'd argue is on the cusp of being good enough for the first revised MBPs.

That was really nicely detailed. Whatever they do I hope they can work the cooling out well. I could deal with some noise factor if it could keep a quad core laptop cool under heavy processor loads.
post #129 of 160
Of all the things about my MBP that bother me thickness is not an issue. Given the opportunity I'm sure Apple will try to thin the machine down, I'm just not convinced that shooting for absolute thinnest is the best thing to do for a Pro. A better fan system goes a long way to enabling full use of the processors and a thicker case helps deliver that fan system. On top of that I don't want to loose access to common HD sizes. The 9.5 mm drives would be a good compromise here but a Tera Byte drive would be nice.

Spacing out components on the logic board is a long tested method of spreading out the heat load. The problem is I want the HD along that thick edge. In any event new platter tech has already allowed for thinner high capacity drives this fall.

The big issue in my mind is that the MBPs need to remain PRO machines in every sense of the word. That means top performance across the CPU and GPUs. As long as we see performance progress on these two fronts the Pros will remain viable. However many users need as much internal storage as is possible, I'd hate to see Apple get to aggressive and impact the Pros storage capability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Right now the MBPs will take a 12.5mm HDD/SSD, mostly due to the ODD is 12.7mm. They could reduce the casing by several millimeters. How? Using the milled top panel (like in the MBA) and thinner display components could reduce it by a mm or more right there.

Then you have removing the ODD and only allowing a 9.5mm HDD/SSD (along with an SSD card for booting and apps). That will save you over 3mm more. Of course, we need to consider heat dissipation of the logic boards and fans, but Apple also has the benefit of spacing out the CPU and GPU along the backside (thickest part of the wedge) of the case chassis so that the two hottest components can dissipate heat more effectively by an elongated logic board instead of a squarish logic board.

Or if Apple really wants to go to the extreme they could move to 7mm HDDs which is also the common size of SSDs without the spacer. This removes a HDD platter reducing the overall capacity but they are at least up to 500GB, which (combined with an SSD card) I'd argue is on the cusp of being good enough for the first revised MBPs.
post #130 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

That is the key question here if the major update requires IB then the question then becomes when does IB arrive? My point is this: if IB is 6-9 months away a spec bump to the current machines is very likely. The obvious flip side to that is that if IB arrives before the end of the year then no bump is required.



There is a huge difference between letting a failed product languish verses ignoring your bread and butter. The old AIRs had a number of issues which where best resolved with an aggressive engineering effort. Since sales where abysmal they could easily hold off on an update. The MBP is a different story altogether, it sells well and more importantly sells to more demanding users.

I mentioned update times on other models too. I was saying that if Apple by some chance was getting processors early as they have a few times in the past, we might see them wait. It seems like they've been trending toward updating the laptops around once a year, but never a full year in between. If they are going to bump it before Ivy Bridge I imagine they'd want to for holiday sales boosts. Right after the holidays might not be so good especially if that led to returns of the old ones. On the Airs I agree they really put some energy into that design.

I still worry that they're going the route of limiting the truly professional grade features to the 17", but that's been a concern for some time.
post #131 of 160
In fact it looks like the have been fairly regular at about 240 days average.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I mentioned update times on other models too. I was saying that if Apple by some chance was getting processors early as they have a few times in the past, we might see them wait. It seems like they've been trending toward updating the laptops around once a year, but never a full year in between. If they are going to bump it before Ivy Bridge I imagine they'd want to for holiday sales boosts. Right after the holidays might not be so good especially if that led to returns of the old ones. On the Airs I agree they really put some energy into that design.

Thus is around the time they have done so in the past. That is early fall.
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I still worry that they're going the route of limiting the truly professional grade features to the 17", but that's been a concern for some time.

I'm not sure I buy this either. If you are willing to pay for it you can have yourself a very capable 15" MBP. That is Today, I do worry about the future and the rumored move to even thinner MBPs.

Thin may be in but there is such a thing as to thin. It is like finding a girl friend. You look around for thin but not too thin. After all if the body looks like a bag of bones do you really want it laying next to you. I'm assuming you aren't the guy arrested a few years ago in the cemetery and sent to the mental health ward. He loved sleeping with the bones.

Frankly I think you are hung up on the phrase "truly professional grade" which is a BS phrase. The 15 " machine is used by many professionals.
post #132 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

He loved sleeping with the bones.

Frankly I think you are hung up on the phrase "truly professional grade" which is a BS phrase. The 15 " machine is used by many professionals.

You never know


Yeah it's a BS phrase. What I was getting at was that I hope that the 15" machines aren't fully gutted of powerful features that are then left on the 17" to quell complaints. I am concerned that the potential is there as it's the route they went with the express card slot (and I liked having esata capability ). I don't think they'll gut it too hard while the 13" macbook pro still exists. It seems like their decisions aren't currently set in stone for where the line is going.
post #133 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

You never know

That incident with the bones happened locally a few years ago. It resulted in weeks of jokes around the plant.
Quote:

Yeah it's a BS phrase. What I was getting at was that I hope that the 15" machines aren't fully gutted of powerful features that are then left on the 17" to quell complaints.

I really don't think you have to worry, Apple pays more attention to the laptop line then maybe the should. I suspect they realize what Pro users need. I'm somewhat guarded here though as I expect them to consider giving up discreet video chips. In this situation the low end 15" MBP would have integrated video to get a separate GPU you would have to buy the high end 15" MBP.

That sounds bad but it really depends upon where Intel goes with IB. If the integrated GPU fixes it's outstanding issues and more than doubles performance their won't be a huge need for discreet GPUs. In a sense discreet GPUs become a special feature for more demanding professionals. I'm not sure where Ivy Bridge is, but at some point having the GPU integrated on die with the CPU will be a huge advantage. AMD is going after this market big time, but we are still just starting to see hardware that partially implements their plans.
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I am concerned that the potential is there as it's the route they went with the express card slot (and I liked having esata capability ).

You know I've yet to use my express card port. If I had a choice right now I'd rather see more USB ports on the MBPs. I never seem to have enough of them.
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I don't think they'll gut it too hard while the 13" macbook pro still exists. It seems like their decisions aren't currently set in stone for where the line is going.

Well I can't read corporate minds, but I don't think the concept of Pro hardware is going away. In fact IB should bring far faster hardware to us. You mention the 13" MBP, imagine that machine with double the performance both CPU and GPU wise. When the 15" gets updated it will also see improvements. More importantly the extra space freeded up by the higher integration chips means space to implement other concepts.

Now whatever Apple does it will likely be explained in the context of the future. That is Apple won't build hardware suitable for the past. Rather they build for their version of the future. You may not agree with that vision but building for the past is a mistake.
post #134 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Apple commonly replaces processors with similarly priced models. Ram prices fall and they update the stock amounts. They have a manufacturing budget you know, and good margins on the machines that they sell. That aside I don't see a ram upgrade coming until next year. I think if they were refreshing they could keep it at 4 but lower the price to go to 8 thus pushing the upgrade since the cost of ram is currently low enough to do this, and they have done similar things in the past.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Not really. Think about it the new SKUs from intel aren't more expensive they just nudge all the other processors down the price scale. RAM has dropped significantly in cost over the year, with many companies struggling to stay afloat. Thus it would be easy for Apple to double they RAM in the Mac line up. Likewise the storage companies have just increased the per platter capacity of their drives, this meampns a significant drop in cost per bit.

So yeah I don't see a problem with a configuration bump at all. In fact it would be easy for Apple to go after one of these or all of them.

All this is true, but you're comparing apples to oranges. The question was whether or not a speed bump costs virtually nothing. The corresponding comparison is between what Apple would pay for components in the future with or without a speed bump. The prices Apple paid in the past are irrelevant to the economic decision about the future which Apple face. Apple would have to pay more in the future for components if it bumps the speed of the MacBook Pro than they would have to pay in the future if they don't bump the speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm pretty excited about all the new UltraBooks appearing. I'm hoping that will push Apple to release the new designs sooner rather than later as I care more about the ODD being removed (but still remaining decent internal storage which the MBAs can't give me) than I am about the latest CPU and GPU offerings.

I think you may be a bit disappointed. Apple's discontinuation of the MacBook (which I did not expect so soon) leads me to expect that the next major revision to the MacBook Pro will drop all rotating media and go completely to solid-state. I'm expecting two mSATA slots for storage. I think the main distinctions between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro lines will be:
17W versus 35W CPUs
4GB versus 8GB RAM (maybe expandable in the MacBook Pro)
one versus two mSATA slots
single-channel versus dual-channel Thunderbolt
11", 13", and 15" versus 13", 15", and 17"
Price, weight, and thickness
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post #135 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

All this is true, but you're comparing apples to oranges. The question was whether or not a speed bump costs virtually nothing. The corresponding comparison is between what Apple would pay for components in the future with or without a speed bump. The prices Apple paid in the past are irrelevant to the economic decision about the future which Apple face. Apple would have to pay more in the future for components if it bumps the speed of the MacBook Pro than they would have to pay in the future if they don't bump the speed.

it really makes no difference here. As long as they can maintain margins there is little reason to avoid a bump. Even then the reason to bump a machine, especially a bump that fills in before a big overhaul, is to maintain sales momentum. Failure to bump can have an adverse impact on sales.
Quote:

I think you may be a bit disappointed. Apple's discontinuation of the MacBook (which I did not expect so soon) leads me to expect that the next major revision to the MacBook Pro will drop all rotating media and go completely to solid-state.

This is actually a concern of mine. I want the optical to go, but I want to see the capability for hybrid storage built into the machine. That is a SSD and the provision for a large capacity HD. The reason is fairly straight forward, SSD is not economical for bulk storage.
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I'm expecting two mSATA slots for storage.

I'm really hopping not!!! MSATA would be a big mistake in my mind. It would be far easier to implement a SSD standard based on PCI-Express. That is quibbling over the interface though, the important thing is that Apple adopts an industry standard interface and card format.
Quote:
I think the main distinctions between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro lines will be:
17W versus 35W CPUs
4GB versus 8GB RAM (maybe expandable in the MacBook Pro)

RAM capacity is a huge issue for Pro users, the only rational thing for Apple to do here is to expand that capability. 8GB is a starting point these days not an end point.
Quote:
one versus two mSATA slots

The card slots for SSD storage should be standard and at a minimal two in the Pros.
Quote:
single-channel versus dual-channel Thunderbolt
11", 13", and 15" versus 13", 15", and 17"
Price, weight, and thickness

I'd like to see the new Pros come with more USB ports, some supporting USB3 and two Thunderbolt ports. The dual TB ports could be used for data but I'm more concerned with driving dual monitors. For Ivy Bridge I still think Apple will have to add discreet GPUs, at least as an option. Oh don't leave out an Ethernet port either.

It looks like we see similar hardware configurations in the future but you seem have a more limited view almost as if you are expecting a regression. On the other hand I'm expecting a noticeably more powerful machine.

The other way to look at this is that Apple nailed the low end entry level market with the AIRs and does have a solid grip on the professional market. Apple realizes the needs of the professional market is dramatically different than the entry level market so they aren't going to screw up the MBPs on purpose. In other words they will strive to build a machine to meet the requirements of professionals in the future, that may mean dropping some older features. The trick for them is getting the right mix of new features so that the machines are compelling. If they don't sales will suck.
post #136 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

it really makes no difference here. As long as they can maintain margins there is little reason to avoid a bump.

Apple's objective is not to maintain margins. Apple's objective is to (continue to) increase margins. Apple have again and again demonstrated a willingness to accept smaller gains in market share in order to increase margins. I don't see any reason to expect that to change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Even then the reason to bump a machine, especially a bump that fills in before a big overhaul, is to maintain sales momentum. Failure to bump can have an adverse impact on sales.

Yes, absolutely. However, I'm not convinced that the MacBook Pro is seeing any sort of sales slump. If sales are slumping, then certainly Apple should bump the specs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

This is actually a concern of mine. I want the optical to go, but I want to see the capability for hybrid storage built into the machine. That is a SSD and the provision for a large capacity HD. The reason is fairly straight forward, SSD is not economical for bulk storage.

Can we agree that at some future time it will make sense for Apple to drop internal HD support and go SSD only? We can disagree about whether that time will come in six months or six years. If we can agree that Apple will eventually do this, there is some advantage to doing it at the same time as dropping the optical brick because engineering one major redesign costs less than engineering two major redesigns. Also, it's seems that Apple are very interesting in pushing customers into the iCloud, which going SSD only would help to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I'm really hopping not!!! MSATA would be a big mistake in my mind. It would be far easier to implement a SSD standard based on PCI-Express. That is quibbling over the interface though, the important thing is that Apple adopts an industry standard interface and card format.

I have not put any thought into which interface is better, so I'll take your word for it. I only note that Apple recently chose mSATA for this application.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

RAM capacity is a huge issue for Pro users, the only rational thing for Apple to do here is to expand that capability. 8GB is a starting point these days not an end point.

Have you looked at pricing for 4Mb DRAM chips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The card slots for SSD storage should be standard and at a minimal two in the Pros.

I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I'd like to see the new Pros come with more USB ports, some supporting USB3 and two Thunderbolt ports. The dual TB ports could be used for data but I'm more concerned with driving dual monitors. For Ivy Bridge I still think Apple will have to add discreet GPUs, at least as an option. Oh don't leave out an Ethernet port either.

I agree, except that I would be surprised to see Apple support USB3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

It looks like we see similar hardware configurations in the future but you seem have a more limited view almost as if you are expecting a regression. On the other hand I'm expecting a noticeably more powerful machine.

No, I don't think that is an accurate characterization of my expectations. I expect Apple to pursue their strategic objectives. That includes making Macs more like consumer electronics and less like DIY PeeCees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The other way to look at this is that Apple nailed the low end entry level market with the AIRs and does have a solid grip on the professional market. Apple realizes the needs of the professional market is dramatically different than the entry level market so they aren't going to screw up the MBPs on purpose. In other words they will strive to build a machine to meet the requirements of professionals in the future, that may mean dropping some older features. The trick for them is getting the right mix of new features so that the machines are compelling. If they don't sales will suck.

I agree.
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post #137 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


Have you looked at pricing for 4Mb DRAM chips?

I agree.

I have and the types suitable for the macbook pro are about there in pricing. As I mentioned if it's not made standard they could do what they have done before and lower the cost of upgrading to 8GB encouraging people to buy their ram upgrades from Apple. $100 is enough to subsidize is at current chip pricing. Personally I wish the cost of 8GB chips would come down so that I could load 16 into a laptop That seems to be about the sweet spot for me where I no longer notice disk paging (ever).
post #138 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I have and the types suitable for the macbook pro are about there in pricing. As I mentioned if it's not made standard they could do what they have done before and lower the cost of upgrading to 8GB encouraging people to buy their ram upgrades from Apple. $100 is enough to subsidize is at current chip pricing. Personally I wish the cost of 8GB chips would come down so that I could load 16 into a laptop That seems to be about the sweet spot for me where I no longer notice disk paging (ever).

The price per bit of 4Gb DRAM chips is still well over double the price per bit of 2Gb DRAM chips. To put 8GB in a MacBook Pro requires 32x 2Gb chips or 16x 4Gb chips. That's the upper limit of what is plausible today. Putting 64 DRAM chips in a laptop is not really plausible. 4Gb chips are still too expensive (though that could change very quickly).

If I were Apple, I would put 16x 2Gb chips (4GB) directly on the motherboard of the MacBook Pro starting with the next major redesign and offer 16x 4Gb (8GB) as a BTO option. I suppose Apple might instead choose to use 32x chips so that they can make 8GB standard and offer a 16GB BTO option, but power consumption and reliability argue against it.
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post #139 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

The price per bit of 4Gb DRAM chips is still well over double the price per bit of 2Gb DRAM chips. To put 8GB in a MacBook Pro requires 32x 2Gb chips or 16x 4Gb chips. That's the upper limit of what is plausible today. Putting 64 DRAM chips in a laptop is not really plausible. 4Gb chips are still too expensive (though that could change very quickly).

If I were Apple, I would put 16x 2Gb chips (4GB) directly on the motherboard of the MacBook Pro starting with the next major redesign and offer 16x 4Gb (8GB) as a BTO option. I suppose Apple might instead choose to use 32x chips so that they can make 8GB standard and offer a 16GB BTO option, but power consumption and reliability argue against it.

From what I see you're breaking it down into memory components rather than oem dimms. Apple doesn't build their own ram. It may be labeled apple ram but they just they do buy it prebuilt. I looked up retail costs for reference per dimm and at a retail level they have come down. I don't know where to find wholesale component information on such an item.

Are 8GB dimms really that unreliable (I haven't looked into it in detail as I haven't had the opportunity to upgrade a laptop this far, the previous comment was workstation related)?

Also the lowest mac pro being at 3GB standard (remember BTO isn't an in store option for those who purchase them there) is a bit ridiculous when even the laptops have surpassed that.
post #140 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

From what I see you're breaking it down into memory components rather than oem dimms. Apple doesn't build their own ram. It may be labeled apple ram but they just they do buy it prebuilt. I looked up retail costs for reference per dimm and at a retail level they have come down. I don't know where to find wholesale component information on such an item.

Are 8GB dimms really that unreliable (I haven't looked into it in detail as I haven't had the opportunity to upgrade a laptop this far, the previous comment was workstation related)?

I expect the next major redesign of the MacBook Pro will not support SO-DIMMs but will more likely follow the MacBook Air and have the DRAM chips permanently fixed to the motherboard. That lowers cost and increases reliability (though it raises the repair cost if memory does fail).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Also the lowest mac pro being at 3GB standard (remember BTO isn't an in store option for those who purchase them there) is a bit ridiculous when even the laptops have surpassed that.

3GB (or 6GB) makes sense for the current Mac Pro because the chipset used organizes memory into 3 banks. The chipset that will be used with an Ivy Bridge Mac Pro supports 4 banks and I expect either 4GB or 8GB will be the minimum supported.
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post #141 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

I expect the next major redesign of the MacBook Pro will not support SO-DIMMs but will more likely follow the MacBook Air and have the DRAM chips permanently fixed to the motherboard. That lowers cost and increases reliability (though it raises the repair cost if memory does fail).

I hope they don't go this route. One of the things about macs is they tend to have relatively long service lives assuming a lack of ultra costly hardware failures. That used to be limited more to the screen or logic board components. Any idea why they went this design route?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


3GB (or 6GB) makes sense for the current Mac Pro because the chipset used organizes memory into 3 banks. The chipset that will be used with an Ivy Bridge Mac Pro supports 4 banks and I expect either 4GB or 8GB will be the minimum supported.

All tests I've viewed on this suggested that the real world performance impact of ignoring installation in sets of three was practically non existent. On the Apple site it doesn't make a single mention of any advantage from tri channel bandwidth when you go to place an order. 3GB just isn't really a realistic amount for such a machine. The only thing I can find that reflects your concern on memory bandwidth is that three dimm configurations are available even though they don't actually state the reasoning.

Quoted from the apple store description

The single-processor Mac Pro supports up to 32GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory in four slots. Choose more memory to improve overall system performance.
Because accessing data from memory is much faster than accessing data from a hard drive, the more memory your system has, the faster it can manipulate your data. The result is greater application performance, especially when working with large files and memory-intensive applications such as graphics, audio, video, and scientific applications.

Depending on the processor you choose, the single-processor Mac Pro uses the following types of memory:

2.8GHz and 3.2GHz quad-core processors: 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM
3.33GHz 6-core processor: 1333MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM
8GB DIMMs (24GB or 32GB configurations): 1333MHz DDR3 ECC R-DIMM SDRAM
The SDRAM in the Mac Pro uses an advanced memory technology that is not only fast, but also reliable. ECC provides this added layer of reliability by automatically correcting memory errors if they occur.

Mac Pro supports 8GB registered DIMMs (R-DIMMs) for up to 32GB of memory in Quad-Core and 6-Core systems. R-DIMMs cannot be mixed with unregistered DIMMs.
post #142 of 160
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Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I hope they don't go this route. One of the things about macs is they tend to have relatively long service lives assuming a lack of ultra costly hardware failures. That used to be limited more to the screen or logic board components. Any idea why they went this design route?

Why did Apple choose to put the RAM directly on the motherboard with the MacBook Air and why do I think Apple might make the same choice with the next major redesign of the MacBook Pro? Let us count the reasons.
1. lower cost
2. improved reliability
3. increases the frequency of the repurchase cycle
4. allows thinner laptops
5. Apple get to sell all the Mac RAM, rather than 3rd party memory vendors
6. lighter, stronger case without an access door
7. replaced SO-DIMMs usually end up in landfill, rather than recycled.
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post #143 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

Why did Apple choose to put the RAM directly on the motherboard with the MacBook Air and why do I think Apple might make the same choice with the next major redesign of the MacBook Pro? Let us count the reasons.

1. lower cost
2. improved reliability
3. increases the frequency of the repurchase cycle
4. allows thinner laptops
5. Apple get to sell all the Mac RAM, rather than 3rd party memory vendors
6. lighter, stronger case without an access door
7. replaced SO-DIMMs usually end up in landfill, rather than recycled.

Reading the way that is written you sound pretty annoyed now, so I'll let someone else point out the flaws in some of this logic

Well only one point but I don't think encouraging repurchasing by making the devices break faster is a good direction for any company, and it can ultimately backfire.
post #144 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Reading the way that is written you sound pretty annoyed now....

No, I'm not annoyed at all. I'm just looking at Apple's choices from the perspective of what is good for Apple, rather than the perspective of what I want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Well only one point but I don't think encouraging repurchasing by making the devices break faster is a good direction for any company, and it can ultimately backfire.

No one is talking about making devices break faster.

The only Mac I ever owned for more than 2 years is also the last Mac I added RAM to. It was the last iteration of the 12" PowerBook. It came with 512MB and I upgraded it to 1.25GB (the maximum possible). I used it for about 4 years until I bought a Rev. A MacBook Air when they were first released. I used that MacBook Air for less than 2 years until I needed 4GB of RAM. If I had not had the option of adding RAM to the PowerBook, I would have replaced it sooner. If I had had the option of adding RAM to the MacBook Air, I would have kept it longer.
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post #145 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

No, I'm not annoyed at all. I'm just looking at Apple's choices from the perspective of what is good for Apple, rather than the perspective of what I want.

If I had had the option of adding RAM to the MacBook Air, I would have kept it longer.

In the case of the macbook air the goal seemed to minimize weight without compromising the structural integrity. That's the appeal of the device. I think the ram thing ended up that way because it would've been much more difficult to retain the rest of the design if ram upgradability was given priority. If they simply wanted it to be built as one unit like this they could have changed it long ago. I'm not sure where you got increased reliability. Either way they're buying the same ram and while it can fail, it's a rather uncommon issue. Even when it's starting to generate errors most people don't even know how to test it.

Anyway I think device longevity is a good thing. It doesn't necessarily keep people from buying new devices. Often they'll buy the newest and hand theirs off to the spouse, kids, etc.
post #146 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

In the case of the macbook air the goal seemed to minimize weight without compromising the structural integrity.

That's one of the goals of every laptop. It's one of the reasons why Apple integrated the battery into the MacBook Pro with the last major redesign.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

If they simply wanted it to be built as one unit like this they could have changed it long ago.

It's only recently that there has been enough space on the motherboard to integrate the RAM, at least for the 13" MacBook Pro. Also, long ago, the MacBook Pro needed to be thick enough to include an internal HD and an internal optical drive. That's no longer true (or, at least, soon to be no longer true). I don't see Apple making the next major redesign of the MacBook Pro thicker than it would otherwise need to be just to accommodate SO-DIMMs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I'm not sure where you got increased reliability. Either way they're buying the same ram and while it can fail, it's a rather uncommon issue. Even when it's starting to generate errors most people don't even know how to test it.

The sockets are an extra point of failure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Anyway I think device longevity is a good thing. It doesn't necessarily keep people from buying new devices. Often they'll buy the newest and hand theirs off to the spouse, kids, etc.

Device longevity and the replacement cycle are two different things. I believe nearly all Rev. A MacBook Air laptops are still in use. I also believe that very few of them are still in use by their original owners.
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post #147 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


The sockets are an extra point of failure.


I've never heard of that happening.


Anyway I was just looking at the macbook air. In the case of it they're including a standard ram amount on all of them. From what I can tell no machine gets more or less than 4GB. We'll see if this changes with the macbook pro too. In any event if that happens I'm ordering mine with the absolute max possible no matter what the cost. I think I've been running with 4+ since Tiger, so it doesn't feel like much to me at this point. At that time that much ram was expensive.

edit: should mention that wasn't on a laptop back then
post #148 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I've never heard of that happening.

I've seen it once with a Sun workstation back in the 1990s. I've heard of it happening with PeeCees.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I was just looking at the macbook air. In the case of it they're including a standard ram amount on all of them. From what I can tell no machine gets more or less than 4GB.

The 11" MacBook Air can be had with either 2GB or 4GB.
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post #149 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

I've seen it once with a Sun workstation back in the 1990s. I've heard of it happening with PeeCees.



The 11" MacBook Air can be had with either 2GB or 4GB.

I missed that one. Bleh that's a pathetic amount of ram for Lion. I'm tempted to make a joke about the OS claiming the lion's share of the ram before you open a single application, but I'll let that one go.
post #150 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

[2GB is] a pathetic amount of ram for Lion. I'm tempted to make a joke about the OS claiming the lion's share of the ram before you open a single application, but I'll let that one go.

I agree, but getting the entry price down to $999 was obviously important to Apple. The Mac Mini is also available with only 2GB. I think 3GB for the Mac Pro is even more pathetic. I guess the next revisions (even minor speed bumps) of these models will bring the minimum RAM up to 4GB. I don't expect Apple to introduce any more new or revised models with less than 4GB.

I'm swapping a little bit with 4GB, probably because I tend to have a lot of tabs open in Safari. When I can buy a MacBook Air with 8GB, I will. However, I expect an 8GB MacBook Air BTO option is at least a year away.
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post #151 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

Apple's objective is not to maintain margins. Apple's objective is to (continue to) increase margins. Apple have again and again demonstrated a willingness to accept smaller gains in market share in order to increase margins. I don't see any reason to expect that to change.

Margins are important but I'm not convinced it is in Apples best interest to try to increase margins. Margins better than the industry average are OK, but as a company being interested soley in fatter margins is a path to destruction.
Quote:

Yes, absolutely. However, I'm not convinced that the MacBook Pro is seeing any sort of sales slump. If sales are slumping, then certainly Apple should bump the specs.

As a business and market leader you don't wait for slump.
Quote:

Can we agree that at some future time it will make sense for Apple to drop internal HD support and go SSD only? We can disagree about whether that time will come in six months or six years. If we can agree that Apple will eventually do this, there is some advantage to doing it at the same time as dropping the optical brick because engineering one major redesign costs less than engineering two major redesigns. Also, it's seems that Apple are very interesting in pushing customers into the iCloud, which going SSD only would help to do.

We can certainly agree that it will happen some time. Personally I think that time is far away because Flash technology won't get us there. Beyond that case engineering costs over three years or so are trivial.

About iCloud, it has nothing to offer to help with the need for local storage. I can't even see a technology on the horizon that would make off device storage feasible much less desired.
Quote:

I have not put any thought into which interface is better, so I'll take your word for it. I only note that Apple recently chose mSATA for this application.

Apples AIR storage modules are proprietary they are not mSATA. However that isn't the issue anyways, what I want Apple to do is to use an industry standard module some of which are just emerging. Standized modules keep prices down. More importantly a PCI - Express interface would result in longer term use of the interface.

At this point my primary concern is avoidance of proprietary interfaces. However a new standard must be a long term play.
Quote:

Have you looked at pricing for 4Mb DRAM chips?

Yes but have you looked at the state of RAM manufactures? Besides the is a marginal value in using fewer chips.
Quote:
I agree.


I agree, expect that I would be surprised to see Apple support USB3.

I wouldn't be surprised one bit. USB 3 doesn't effectively compete with Thunderbolt so there is no downside to supporting it.
Quote:

No, I don't think that is an accurate characterization of my expectations. I expect Apple to pursue their strategic objectives. That includes making Macs more like consumer electronics and less like DIY PeeCees.

Apple has really good hardware that already covers the consumer world. That doesn't mean that they can't produce a machine for the professional world. I don't buy the one or the other argument, it is like saying Chevy should only produce sedans and give up on the Corvet. As long as both markets exist it should not be a problem to build hardware for both.

Apples problem right now is the lack of hardware for the professional as the Mac Pro is a bit of a joke.
Quote:

I agree.
post #152 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

I've seen it once with a Sun workstation back in the 1990s. I've heard of it happening with PeeCees.

Some versions of the Mini had real issues with the RAM expansion slot.
Quote:
The 11" MacBook Air can be had with either 2GB or 4GB.

After installing LION on my early 2008 MBP I can safely say it is a crime for Apple to be selling new computers with 2GAb of RAM.
post #153 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Margins are important but I'm not convinced it is in Apples best interest to try to increase margins. Margins better than the industry average are OK, but as a company being interested soley in fatter margins is a path to destruction.

If Apple were giving up all market growth to increase margins, then you'd be right. But Apple are still maintaining strong market growth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

As a business and market leader you don't wait for slump.

We may be meaning slightly different things by "slump". The shape of the sales curve is rather consistent for new technology products, though it may be stretched more or less along the time or sales axis (or both). There is a falling portion of the sales curve where it makes sense to introduce a replacement product. I meant that I have no idea whether or not MacBook Pro sales are about to reach that part of the curve. If Apple expect to reach that part of the sales curve before the end of the holiday shopping season, then they should introduce a speed bump for the MacBook Pro well before the holiday shopping season starts. If not, then Apple should wait for Ivy Bridge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

About iCloud, it has nothing to offer to help with the need for local storage. I can't even see a technology on the horizon that would make off device storage feasible much less desired.

Increasing the cost of local storage helps to push content into the iCloud, which appears to be a sound strategic move for Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Apples AIR storage modules are proprietary they are not mSATA. However that isn't the issue anyways, what I want Apple to do is to use an industry standard module some of which are just emerging. Standized modules keep prices down. More importantly a PCI - Express interface would result in longer term use of the interface.

At this point my primary concern is avoidance of proprietary interfaces. However a new standard must be a long term play.

I read somewhere that Apple are using the mSATA interface, but the journalist may have had it wrong. I would also prefer an industry standard interface.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Apple has really good hardware that already covers the consumer world. That doesn't mean that they can't produce a machine for the professional world. I don't buy the one or the other argument, it is like saying Chevy should only produce sedans and give up on the Corvet. As long as both markets exist it should not be a problem to build hardware for both.

Apple's problem right now is the lack of hardware for the professional as the Mac Pro is a bit of a joke.

We don't disagree on the need for a Pro machine. I just don't think a Pro machine needs to be as much of a DIY kit as it has been in the past. Apple have been moving away from DIY kit and toward integrated devices. I expect further movement in that direction will be seen in the next major redesign of the Mac Pro. I'm not saying that the performance should suffer.
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post #154 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

We don't disagree on the need for a Pro machine. I just don't think a Pro machine needs to be as much of a DIY kit as it has been in the past. Apple have been moving away from DIY kit and toward integrated devices. I expect further movement in that direction will be seen in the next major redesign of the Mac Pro. I'm not saying that the performance should suffer.

I wouldn't have so much of an issue on this if Apple worked more with third party developers to ensure that updated solutions will be in place. When they leave these guys to scramble there's always a fair amount of dead time, then testing a new product.

On the topic of margins Apple has been pressuring manufacturers for lower pricing and the government for a tax holiday. I don't really get this. There will always be a cost of doing business and especially on the manufacturing end, you don't want to gut the quality of what comes back. Apple just provides the design and prototype testing here. They aren't the ones manufacturing products, and if they pressure these guys too hard, they will end up with cheaply made junk eventually.
post #155 of 160
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

If it's supposed to be a desktop replacement, why in the world would it need to be thin?!

This is an excellent question:roll eyes:


I worry about the loss of the DVD optical drive for academic use as a projection device for films from DVDs. I have one MBP 15" dedicated to Japan-zone DVDs and use a 17" for everything else. MacBook Air? That's what I carry back and forth to Japan and use in libraries and archives, but I find the external dangle a true drag; light a it is it is just hard to use.
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post #156 of 160
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Originally Posted by hmm View Post

On the topic of margins Apple has been pressuring manufacturers for lower pricing and the government for a tax holiday. I don't really get this. There will always be a cost of doing business and especially on the manufacturing end, you don't want to gut the quality of what comes back. Apple just provides the design and prototype testing here. They aren't the ones manufacturing products, and if they pressure these guys too hard, they will end up with cheaply made junk eventually.

For most of Apple's suppliers, Apple has the toughest QA policies and practices of all their customers. When Apple detect a quality flaw that cannot be fixed immediately, they very quickly reallocate production to another supplier.
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post #157 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

For most of Apple's suppliers, Apple has the toughest QA policies and practices of all their customers. When Apple detect a quality flaw that cannot be fixed immediately, they very quickly reallocate production to another supplier.

With a company with such high volume demands, there are only so many potential manufacturing partners out there that can keep up with the volume. Burning them isn't really a good solution, and you have to take their costs into consideration. They do have to purchase things like materials and equipment. They do have to pay staff (granted they pay them almost nothing). At the end any company contracted by Apple has to turn a profit on what they manufacture. If Apple pressures them too hard, this won't happen without cheapening build quality or further diminishing the wages of their workers. Going to another company doesn't totally fix this problem. I mention this because Foxconn apparently reported fairly significant losses in the last quarter, and with the ipad outside of LG and Samsung, who do you really think they can use?

You know other display manufacturers outside of those employing TN panels purchase their panels from Samsung and LG right? If not, you do now The panel component has become heavily commoditized and these manufacturers now simply distinguish themselves by what they do with them.
post #158 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Burning them isn't really a good solution....

No one has suggested burning anyone. It is not Apple's responsibility to worry about the costs faced by their suppliers. That is the responsibility of the suppliers, who freely negotiate contracts with Apple. I'm confident that Apple honour their contracts with their suppliers and I would be the first to condemn Apple if they didn't.

None of Apple's suppliers enjoy free labour. They pay competitive wages. If the US and European governments continue to make employing people in their countries more expensive than the value of the labour, then companies will continue to move jobs to countries which don't make employment costs more expensive than the value of the labour.
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post #159 of 160
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

No one has suggested burning anyone. It is not Apple's responsibility to worry about the costs faced by their suppliers. That is the responsibility of the suppliers, who freely negotiate contracts with Apple. I'm confident that Apple honour their contracts with their suppliers and I would be the first to condemn Apple if they didn't.

None of Apple's suppliers enjoy free labour. They pay competitive wages. If the US and European governments continue to make employing people in their countries more expensive than the value of the labour, then companies will continue to move jobs to countries which don't make employment costs more expensive than the value of the labour.

The thing is Apple keeps pressuring them for lower prices. A lot of these companies then end up looking for new sources of cheap labor due to inflation. The same thing will happen elsewhere. They move in where they can manufacture as cheap as possible then leave after a few years of inflation. You must see how this is a sustainability issue. Once again I've also mentioned that Apple has looked for other companies to build for them, but only so many of these guys can turn out that kind of volume. You've probably read about Foxconn looking at inland China because of inflation along coastal areas already.

Regarding cost of employment in the US and Europe. Wages aren't too high in these places. They're simply too low in China which opens the potential for abuse. I've never claimed Apple and their partners are the only ones who do this kind of thing.

Edit: Let me reiterate here. The reasons it costs computer companies so much less to produce (or recycle) products in these regions shouldn't exist. Labor well below minimum wage standards in the US, lax environmental laws, etc. Over time a lot of manufacturing went to areas like China for these kinds of reasons, and the money that was previously used to cover the previous costs was allocated elsewhere. It really hasn't been a positive change, but it's not unique to Apple or to the computer industry.
post #160 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

The thing is Apple keeps pressuring them for lower prices. A lot of these companies then end up looking for new sources of cheap labor due to inflation. The same thing will happen elsewhere. They move in where they can manufacture as cheap as possible then leave after a few years of inflation. You must see how this is a sustainability issue. Once again I've also mentioned that Apple has looked for other companies to build for them, but only so many of these guys can turn out that kind of volume. You've probably read about Foxconn looking at inland China because of inflation along coastal areas already.

Edit: Let me reiterate here. The reasons it costs computer companies so much less to produce (or recycle) products in these regions shouldn't exist. Labor well below minimum wage standards in the US, lax environmental laws, etc. Over time a lot of manufacturing went to areas like China for these kinds of reasons, and the money that was previously used to cover the previous costs was allocated elsewhere. It really hasn't been a positive change, but it's not unique to Apple or to the computer industry.

You may think that competition is a bad thing. I don't. Competition is better for everyone except the monopolists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Regarding cost of employment in the US and Europe. Wages aren't too high in these places. They're simply too low in China which opens the potential for abuse. I've never claimed Apple and their partners are the only ones who do this kind of thing.

You seem to have missed the point. I never wrote that wages are too high in the US and Europe. The problem is that the cost of employing people in the US and Europe is much higher (often more than double) the wages the employees receive. If I get 20 euro per hour but it costs my employer 45 euro per hour to employ me, his employment costs are too high and my job will be exported to someplace where employment costs and wages are better aligned.

Anyway, we're way, way off topic now. I'll stop here and let you have the last word.
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