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PC makers struggle as Apple locks up metal chassis supply

post #1 of 77
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Supply of metal chassis for ultraportable PC notebooks remains constrained as Apple has reportedly locked up most of the capacity available from suppliers.

Taiwanese tech industry publication DigiTimes reported on Tuesday that metal chassis supply "continues to suffer from shortage." The reason: Apple is buying most of the supply available for its unibody MacBook lineup, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

The two largest metal chassis manufacturers, Catcher Technology and Foxconn, have reportedly been "aggressively establishing new CNC machines." But they are said to be unlikely to full demand until the end of 2012.

Tuesday's report said that PC makers have begun building "ultra-like" notebooks, rather than laptops that meet Intel's "Ultrabook" specification, as Ultrabooks have suffered from "weak sales." The switch to "ultra-like" notebooks has caused shortages of slim panels, in addition to metal chassis.

While traditional display panels are about 5.2 to 5.5 millimeters thick, slim panels measure about 3.6 millimeters, slightly thicker than the panels measuring 2.85 to 3 millimeters found in Ultrabooks.

MBP Side


This week's report isn't the first time sources in the Far East supply chain have indicated that Apple has a firm grasp on metal notebook chassis supply. One report from last August claimed that companies were forced to seek alternatives because Apple controlled most of the "significantly limited" capacity of magnesium-aluminum chassis.

Apple's entire notebook line features a unibody aluminum design, and the full product lineup was given a refresh earlier this month to Intel's latest-generation Ivy Bridge processors. The flagship notebook in Apple's lineup is its new next-generation MacBook Pro which is 0.71 inches thick and features a 15-inch high-resolution Retina display.
post #2 of 77

Insert Digitimes joke here.

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post #3 of 77
Oh dear, so copying has its down side after all! Maybe the PC industry should design something unique to themselves and avoid this situation.
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post #4 of 77
Gotta love horribly biased articles.

Apple isn't locking anything up. When Apple persued Unibody 4 years ago they had to go out and buy "aircraft quality" prototyping CNC machines FOR their suppliers to operate. These are $250k a pop, and Apple is competing with prototype engineering firms al over the WORLD for these. Other companies were more than able to buy their own.. Of course Apple has new machines already PAID FOR 2-3 years out.

Apple stuck its neck WAY out on these machines while everybody else was laughing at them. Even if the other manufacturers did have the machines right now, Apple still has a 4-year head start on making them profitable. Apple put a considerable amount of its own upfront money into Foxconn for these machines. They are not "market resources" they are APPLE'S resources they paid for FIRST.

Apple isn't using unfair tactics... Other than planning 3 years ahead to buy stuff nobody thought of yet. They are THAT far ahead of everybody else!
post #5 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Oh dear, so copying has its down side after all! Maybe the PC industry should design something unique to themselves and avoid this situation.

Remember when the unibody Macs first appeared and the naysayers said how it was so pointless?

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post #6 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by mabhatter View Post

Gotta love horribly biased articles.
Apple isn't locking anything up. When Apple persued Unibody 4 years ago they had to go out and buy "aircraft quality" prototyping CNC machines FOR their suppliers to operate. These are $250k a pop, and Apple is competing with prototype engineering firms al over the WORLD for these. Other companies were more than able to buy their own.. Of course Apple has new machines already PAID FOR 2-3 years out.
Apple stuck its neck WAY out on these machines while everybody else was laughing at them. Even if the other manufacturers did have the machines right now, Apple still has a 4-year head start on making them profitable. Apple put a considerable amount of its own upfront money into Foxconn for these machines. They are not "market resources" they are APPLE'S resources they paid for FIRST.
Apple isn't using unfair tactics... Other than planning 3 years ahead to buy stuff nobody thought of yet. They are THAT far ahead of everybody else!

4 years ago... heck it was longer than that (they were carving iPods out of Aluminum in what, 2006?.

post #7 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Remember when the unibody Macs first appeared and the naysayers said how it was so pointless?

my cracked TI Powerbooks and White Macbooks told me it was an investment in the weakest aspect of a Mac Laptop.  Either the Hinges go or the case cracks.

College backpacks in Minnesota and Colorado are brutal test labs for laptop cases (-20F and tossed into a study booth).

 

As much as people say Apple is obsoleting equipment, I'm saying it makes a 3 year expense into a 5 year investment (my 2008 unibody is needing a battery, but otherwise, it's running great).

post #8 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

4 years ago... heck it was longer than that (they were carving iPods out of Aluminum in what, 2006?.


iPod mini - 2004

post #9 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Oh dear, so copying has its down side after all! Maybe the PC industry should design something unique to themselves and avoid this situation.

It's not the copying that is the real issue. It's Apple keeping a tight lid on things so while the other boys are trying to top last years killer product, Apple is locking down production contracts that have the factories running at near capacity to meet the deals, leaving them nothing to offer anyone else. All before anyone knows they need to get in the game. This was Tim Cooks main job as COO and he could still be making those deals himself since he has the relationships and isn't a design guy to the level Steve was

So even if they made something unique there is no one to build it.
post #10 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

This was Tim Cooks main job as COO and he could still be making those deals himself since he has the relationships and isn't a design guy to the level Steve was
So even if they made something unique there is no one to build it.

Supply chain management is Tim Cooks speciality. Jobs picked Cook for a reason ... and this is a great example of that. 
As for design? Ives leads design. Its part of having a solid team. Jobs wasnt an expert in everything (he knew enough to know what was good), but he surrounded himself with experts. They have been doing their jobs well.

post #11 of 77

I like the "Ultra-like" notebook moniker.

post #12 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by mabhatter View Post

Gotta love horribly biased articles.
Apple isn't locking anything up. When Apple persued Unibody 4 years ago they had to go out and buy "aircraft quality" prototyping CNC machines FOR their suppliers to operate. These are $250k a pop, and Apple is competing with prototype engineering firms al over the WORLD for these. Other companies were more than able to buy their own.. Of course Apple has new machines already PAID FOR 2-3 years out.
Apple stuck its neck WAY out on these machines while everybody else was laughing at them. Even if the other manufacturers did have the machines right now, Apple still has a 4-year head start on making them profitable. Apple put a considerable amount of its own upfront money into Foxconn for these machines. They are not "market resources" they are APPLE'S resources they paid for FIRST.
Apple isn't using unfair tactics... Other than planning 3 years ahead to buy stuff nobody thought of yet. They are THAT far ahead of everybody else!

 

You said "apple isn't locking anything up" then proceeded to explain just how they have managed to lock things up by effectively controlling a large percentage of the world's supply for the necessary equipment.  Not just now, but into the future.

post #13 of 77
No wonder Tim Cook is famous for his control of the supply chain and inventory. As for the competition? Death by slow strangulation it would seem.

Waiting for the trolls to whine about the unfairness of it all.
post #14 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by alandail View Post

 

You said "apple isn't locking anything up" then proceeded to explain just how they have managed to lock things up by effectively controlling a large percentage of the world's supply for the necessary equipment.  Not just now, but into the future.

But his point is still valid. These are Apple's machines, not Foxconn's or anybody else's. Apple invested in the machines, spent their own money, did their own research, trained their suppliers to use them, etc. Why shouldn't Apple benefit from such a smart decision that nobody else was willing to bet on?

post #15 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

It's not the copying that is the real issue. It's Apple keeping a tight lid on things so while the other boys are trying to top last years killer product, Apple is locking down production contracts that have the factories running at near capacity to meet the deals, leaving them nothing to offer anyone else. All before anyone knows they need to get in the game. This was Tim Cooks main job as COO and he could still be making those deals himself since he has the relationships and isn't a design guy to the level Steve was
So even if they made something unique there is no one to build it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alandail View Post

You said "apple isn't locking anything up" then proceeded to explain just how they have managed to lock things up by effectively controlling a large percentage of the world's supply for the necessary equipment.  Not just now, but into the future.

Those comments are nonsense. There is nothing magical about the CNC machines used to make computer cases. I am familiar with machine shops and could easily find 50 shops within a 20 mile radius of my home that can do it. It's also not that hard to set up a machine shop. Buy a couple of machines (and they ARE available - we've bought several in the past few years), rent or buy a facility, and hire someone who knows how to program the machine. And even that wouldn't be necessary - there are hundreds of thousands of machine shops in the US and many thousands in China, as well. It would only take a few phone calls to find shops capable of making the cases.

The entire premise of Apple making it impossible for people to make cases is absurd.

Now, it is true that Apple has done a masterful job of setting up a supply chain to ensure a stead supply of reasonably priced cases. It took them years to do that - but anyone else can do it if they're willing to put in the time and effort. The fact that they're looking for a shortcut (by trying to tap into Apple's supply chain) is not Apple's problem. Rather, it is further indication of the inability of most PC vendors to do anything creative.
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post #16 of 77
One of the biggest bs stories I've read today.
Apple has been unibodying for 4 year and now they are all of a sudden hogging up metal chasis productIon? I'm dying on the floor LMAO!
post #17 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Those comments are nonsense. There is nothing magical about the CNC machines used to make computer cases. I am familiar with machine shops and could easily find 50 shops within a 20 mile radius of my home that can do it. It's also not that hard to set up a machine shop. Buy a couple of machines (and they ARE available - we've bought several in the past few years), rent or buy a facility, and hire someone who knows how to program the machine. And even that wouldn't be necessary - there are hundreds of thousands of machine shops in the US and many thousands in China, as well. It would only take a few phone calls to find shops capable of making the cases.
The entire premise of Apple making it impossible for people to make cases is absurd.
Now, it is true that Apple has done a masterful job of setting up a supply chain to ensure a stead supply of reasonably priced cases. It took them years to do that - but anyone else can do it if they're willing to put in the time and effort. The fact that they're looking for a shortcut (by trying to tap into Apple's supply chain) is not Apple's problem. Rather, it is further indication of the inability of most PC vendors to do anything creative.

Different shops with different machines with different firmware being programmed by different people with different levels of expertise results in too many offerences where you want them to be as exact as possible in the natural world. You also have a logistical problem that can be costly. Apple using a few large shops they have a control over is simply better for their needs.

What Apple has done is not only to make milling tens of millions of CE products possible but to make it cost effective within the needed tolerances. I wouldn't use the word magical but from a technology standpoint this is a phenomenon. They even do it on their iPhone antenna and remote control! That's how successful this has been for them.
Edited by SolipsismX - 6/26/12 at 8:33am

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post #18 of 77

This is a silly article.

 

First of all, is anyone aware of any non-Apple notebook that has sales that are constrained by lack of availability?  Any notebook maker? Dell?  HP?  Lenovo?  Acer?  Toshiba?  I'm reading about lackluster sales.  I'm not reading about lines at the door or waiting lists.

 

Secondly, it's a free market.  If Apple is paying $10, then they can offer $11.  If Apple is willing to prepay or commit to a large order, then they can do that, or pay more.  If Apple scouts out the necessary machines, then the competitors can do that.

 

Lastly, they could always try to innovate and not just do what Apple did.  Is everything Apple does simply the best and only way to do something?  Is there really no room for improvement, or as Apple might say, "thinking different?"

post #19 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Different shops with different machines with different firmware being programmed by different people with different levels of expertise results in different results whee you want them to be as exact as possible in the natural world.
What Apple has done is not only to make milling tens of millions of CE products possible but to make it cost effective within the needed tolerances. I wouldn't use the word magical but from a technology standpoint this is a phenomenon. They even do it on their iPhone antenna and remote control! That's how successful this has been for them.

Sorry, but I have years of experience with machined parts and you're wrong. At the level of tolerances needed for a laptop case, any competent machine ship with reasonably modern equipment can make suitable product. The differences from one shop to another should be less than the batch to batch variations within an individual shop.

Apple has done an impressive job with the supply chain and has certainly worked with suppliers to standardize and streamline production, but any company buying millions of components can (and probably should) do the same thing.
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post #20 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


It's not the copying that is the real issue. It's Apple keeping a tight lid on things so while the other boys are trying to top last years killer product, Apple is locking down production contracts that have the factories running at near capacity to meet the deals, leaving them nothing to offer anyone else. All before anyone knows they need to get in the game. This was Tim Cooks main job as COO and he could still be making those deals himself since he has the relationships and isn't a design guy to the level Steve was
So even if they made something unique there is no one to build it.


Apple is basically tricking competitors into following them into a supply chain trap.  Apple is working towards its already set road map by getting supplies and production facilities set up well in advance by at least three years.  The competitors either haven't had any long-range planning or are being forced to switch plans in order to try to keep up with Apple which doesn't leave competitors with any long-term planning.  They'll keep running into roadblocks as Apple maintains a solid supply chain on everything.  The smartest thing for competitors to do is not trying to copy everything Apple is doing.  They need to formulate their own long-term plans and grow into them.  Even if Apple's competitors do that, they're definitely going to lose market share short-term as Apple continues to keep it's own production high.  The worst problem competitors have is that Apple is making all the money which is practically securing its own future.  Apple will have enough money to make whatever moves it wants.  If Apple is planning to use carbon-fiber cases three years from now, it probably has already started locking down supplies.  If Apple were to have problems with acquiring components, I can only imagine the horrors competitors would be going through.

 

This is the reason I don't understand why Wall Street continues to claim that every product Apple makes is going to be commoditized by some cheaper competitor's product which will supposedly cause the downfall of Apple.  It's clear to see that there will continue to be consumers willing to pay the extra money for a higher-quality product and Apple will be able to offer a product which other companies can't afford to offer.  I'm sure on the surface, the Galaxy S III appears to be a solid product, but it appears that Samsung is cutting corners on some components.  Maybe slightly less quality is good enough for most consumers.

post #21 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by mabhatter View Post

...When Apple persued Unibody 4 years ago they had to go out and buy "aircraft quality" prototyping CNC machines FOR their suppliers to operate. These are $250k a pop, and Apple is competing with prototype engineering firms al over the WORLD for these. Other companies were more than able to buy their own...

That's why I suspect that when Sinofsky made reference to 'liquid metal' in the MS surface news conference, he was actually referring to a die cast chassis of magnesium alloy.  These are much cheaper to produce than CNC machined parts but also much, much less well finished.

 

Regardless, I think that the surface is a ploy.

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post #22 of 77

It's Digitimes.

 

Nothing to see here, people, keep moving along.
 

post #23 of 77

You know, Ronald Reagan broke the Soviet Union by threatening to outspend them in defensive systems and the defence of the NATO block to such an extent, that the Russians realised that they'd go broke trying to compete. (Remember his star wars?)

 

Apple has sort of done the same thing to pc manufacturers by going to thinner and thinner systems.  It's expensive to do but just so attractive to the consumer.  This whole process plays right into Tim Cooks area of expertise and takes advantage of Apple's enormous cash horde.  Apple is playing with them!

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post #24 of 77
Hell Redmond is using the whole Apple model with its store apps and everything else. Guess that's just intellectual production not requiring certain machinery. But when you look at the Windows 8 forum for the "new" release you see all kinds of problems. Just like the machine factory, the imitators don't really have the intellectual factory either.
post #25 of 77

"Ultraportable PC Notebooks" (ridiculous term) manufacturers problem is not supply, but demand ....

post #26 of 77
This seems unlikely. Every windows notebook I've ever owned was mostly plastic.
post #27 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Those comments are nonsense. There is nothing magical about the CNC machines used to make computer cases. I am familiar with machine shops and could easily find 50 shops within a 20 mile radius of my home that can do it. It's also not that hard to set up a machine shop. Buy a couple of machines (and they ARE available - we've bought several in the past few years), rent or buy a facility, and hire someone who knows how to program the machine. And even that wouldn't be necessary - there are hundreds of thousands of machine shops in the US and many thousands in China, as well. It would only take a few phone calls to find shops capable of making the cases.
The entire premise of Apple making it impossible for people to make cases is absurd.
Now, it is true that Apple has done a masterful job of setting up a supply chain to ensure a stead supply of reasonably priced cases. It took them years to do that - but anyone else can do it if they're willing to put in the time and effort. The fact that they're looking for a shortcut (by trying to tap into Apple's supply chain) is not Apple's problem. Rather, it is further indication of the inability of most PC vendors to do anything creative.

I suspect that getting access to a few CNC mills here and a few there is not the problem. Industrial-scale production and quality control of these cases probably requires hundreds of mills co-located, with very uniform and specific high-quality capabilities. This is what is not sitting around waiting for a modest order from HP that may suddenly become a large order.

Apple has invested in barn-loads of these mills, probably buys dozens more every month, and has a near-perfect match between demand and production capacity.

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post #28 of 77

I am waiting for someone to take Apple to court over this..... or Eric Holder's DoJ to be all over this soon enough...

post #29 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Oh dear, so copying has its down side after all! Maybe the PC industry should design something unique to themselves and avoid this situation.

Well, that's actually asking for too much.  A PC company designing something unique?  You mean they can design something original in the first place?  All they do is make WIndows clones.  They might have to stick with plastic or find another supplier to make em.

post #30 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I am waiting for someone to take Apple to court over this..... or Eric Holder's DoJ to be all over this soon enough...

It's the supplier to meet contractual obligations, if they can't take on more business, then TOUGH NOOGIES.

post #31 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

I suspect that getting access to a few CNC mills here and a few there is not the problem. Industrial-scale production and quality control of these cases probably requires hundreds of mills co-located, with very uniform and specific high-quality capabilities. This is what is not sitting around waiting for a modest order from HP that may suddenly become a large order.
Apple has invested in barn-loads of these mills, probably buys dozens more every month, and has a near-perfect match between demand and production capacity.

That's absolutely true.

But it's not the machines or machine shops that are lacking. Rather, what is lacking is the foresight and effort from Apple's competitors to actually build a supply chain.

Instead of building a supply chain like Apple did, they want to hop onboard the supply chain that Apple already built - and whine when they can't do so. Too bad.
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post #32 of 77
But everybody started on a level field. PC makers spent how long ZLAUGHING at Apple? Instead of getting their OWN money on the table.

Appe bought the equipment THEMSELVES. Apple made deals with Foxconn to operate the equipment and do the quality work.

There are other contract manufactures out there... But nobody was willing to PAY TGEM UP FRONT to build the factories needed.

I say that because Apple didn't just "buy" their way into this. They put a lot of money on their contractors up front, in a recession (back in 08 when everybody else was firing), while being laughed at. they did WORK to make this happen. PC makers are used to Microsoft and Intel throwing in the bucks FOR them to tell the contractors what to make. While pitting contractors against each other for the lowest price with no partnership on the PC makers' parts.

PC makers want Retnia displays or unibody chassis put 50% of the cash UP FRONT for a years run and somebody will jump on that. And raise your prices to Apple's levels to pay for it!
post #33 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Sorry, but I have years of experience with machined parts and you're wrong. At the level of tolerances needed for a laptop case, any competent machine ship with reasonably modern equipment can make suitable product. The differences from one shop to another should be less than the batch to batch variations within an individual shop.
Apple has done an impressive job with the supply chain and has certainly worked with suppliers to standardize and streamline production, but any company buying millions of components can (and probably should) do the same thing.

I don't have to have a career in CNC machines to understand how logistics and machinery works. I've even had issues with 3rd party parts that are little more than a ben piece of metal that were suppose to be compatible. What you suggest is simply impossible to do at the same costs with a variety of shops with various equipment spread across the globe.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

It's the supplier to meet contractual obligations, if they can't take on more business, then TOUGH NOOGIES.

anantksundaram has a point. It's less common but I could see how one could make a claim that Apple has a monopsony, or has effectively set up exclusive dealings or a refusal to deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mabhatter View Post

But everybody started on a level field. PC makers spent how long ZLAUGHING at Apple? Instead of getting their OWN money on the table.

Appe bought the equipment THEMSELVES. Apple made deals with Foxconn to operate the equipment and do the quality work.

There are other contract manufactures out there... But nobody was willing to PAY TGEM UP FRONT to build the factories needed.

I say that because Apple didn't just "buy" their way into this. They put a lot of money on their contractors up front, in a recession (back in 08 when everybody else was firing), while being laughed at. they did WORK to make this happen. PC makers are used to Microsoft and Intel throwing in the bucks FOR them to tell the contractors what to make. While pitting contractors against each other for the lowest price with no partnership on the PC makers' parts.

PC makers want Retnia displays or unibody chassis put 50% of the cash UP FRONT for a years run and somebody will jump on that. And raise your prices to Apple's levels to pay for it!

I hope alll that money that Apple saved and then strategically invested longterm projects like the unibody construction, displays, etc. are now looking like smart investments to the Vin Diesels of the corporate world that only run their business one quarter at a time.

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post #34 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by alandail View Post

 

You said "apple isn't locking anything up" then proceeded to explain just how they have managed to lock things up by effectively controlling a large percentage of the world's supply for the necessary equipment.  Not just now, but into the future.

 

 

Not necessary unless you want to build your chassis the specific way Apple does, which they designed and executed years before anyone else, and which they legitimately NEED all the capacity for, to meet the demand Apple themselves generated. There are other ways to build a chassis that have been used for years, and there’s nothing stopping these companies from coming up with yet another new way, just like Apple did. There’s also nothing stopping them from being as smart as Tim Cook if they can manage it, or from making business decisions that give them the cash to generate additional capacity. Why should Apple have to fund all the equipment for everyone? More equipment could be made—just pay for it to happen. If those companies arent’ successful enough to buy equipment like Apple did, or fund risks well in advance, why should Apple subsidize their failure?

 

Why should Apple create a new method at massive expense, risk, and R&D effort, have it be such a success that they’re selling every one they make, and then have to “give away” some of their sales to competition who decides they now want to do what Apple did, but without any of the upfront risk Apple undertook? Because if Apple did not “lock up” the capacity they need, that’s exactly what they’d be doing: removing Apple products from the shelves so that competitors could use Apple’s process instead.

 

If Apple didn’t need all that capacity, then it would be pretty low for them to sit on it. But that’s not the case.

post #35 of 77
I would point out that Apple sells LESS than 10% of the PCs. Apple isn't even in the top 5 GLOBALLY. So what are the other makers doing with 90% of the capacity out there?
post #36 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by mabhatter View Post

I would point out that Apple sells LESS than 10% of the PCs. Apple isn't even in the top 5 GLOBALLY. So what are the other makers doing with 90% of the capacity out there?

Comparing Apple, as a vendor, to all other vendors isn't apropos here. Remember that Apple has a very small product line and that most of them are milled. Their competitors trying to do this are only doing it on their higher-end machines which sell in significantly fewer quantity than the cheap models with razor thin margins that prop up their market share numbers. I think it's possible that Apple's milled products far exceed the number of milled products from all other PC vendors combined.

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post #37 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Tuesday's report said that PC makers have begun building "ultra-like" notebooks, rather than laptops that meet Intel's "Ultrabook" specification, as Ultrabooks have suffered from "weak sales."

 

Typical.  

 

We're losing money making these expensive Ultrabooks.  What to do... What to do...

 

Yes!  That's it!  Cut more corners!  PC buyers have been trained for generations to expect less!

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post #38 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Those comments are nonsense. There is nothing magical about the CNC machines used to make computer cases. I am familiar with machine shops and could easily find 50 shops within a 20 mile radius of my home that can do it.

Wouldn't you agree that having all 50 CNC machines under one roof, with a single management, would be orders of magnitude more efficient than making 50 phone calls to different managers and driving multiple trucks around a 20 mile radius to deliver raw materials and collect finished parts?

 

Apple is not locking up capacity to make the cases. They have locked up all the profits by producing them with such high efficiency.


Edited by mstone - 6/26/12 at 10:25am

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post #39 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Wouldn't you agree that having all 50 CNC machines under one roof, with a single management, would be orders of magnitude more efficient than making 50 phone calls to different managers and driving multiple trucks around a 20 mile radius to deliver raw materials and collect finished parts?

Of course it's more efficient. So what?

Apple has gone to the trouble to build a supply chain that's efficient and its competitors have not. Why is it unfair for Apple to not let them piggy back on the supply chain that it has built? The competitors are free to go out and buy or rent a facility and 50 CNC machines and put them under the same roof. It's not Apple's fault that they're unable or unwilling to do so.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I don't have to have a career in CNC machines to understand how logistics and machinery works. I've even had issues with 3rd party parts that are little more than a ben piece of metal that were suppose to be compatible. What you suggest is simply impossible to do at the same costs with a variety of shops with various equipment spread across the globe.

You probably should have stopped with the bolded part.

A decent shop has no problem following the dimensional drawings precisely enough that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. If you're getting incompatibility with something as simple as a bent piece of metal, you need a new supplier.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #40 of 77

There will be plenty of CNC capacity for all once Apple moves their entire line to Liquidmetal enclosures.

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