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Apple investing record $10.5 billion in supply chain robots & machinery

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
More of Apple's assembly processes for devices like the iPhone and iPad will be accomplished by machines and robots, thanks to a $10.5 billion investment in manufacturing planned by the company over the next year.

iPhone 5c
One side of steel reinforcement assembly being installed on the iPhone 5c.


Details on Apple's major expense were revealed on Wednesday by Bloomberg, which detailed how the new equipment will be used for tasks such as polishing the plastic case on the iPhone 5c and testing camera lenses on iPhone and iPad models. Details of the new manufacturing methods were revealed by anonymous sources, though the company's financial commitment was revealed in its annual capital expenditure report last month.

The sources reportedly revealed that Apple is striking exclusive machinery deals, outspending rival technology companies to give the Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation a leg up on the competition.

The report suggested that Apple's manufacturing process, which is a key area of interest for Chief Executive Tim Cook, has "taken on heightened urgency." Cook is known for being an expert in managing Apple's supply chain.

In all, Apple disclosed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to spend about $11 billion on capital expenditures in 2014. That's up considerably from 2013, when Apple spent $7 billion -- $6.5 billion of that on items such as product tooling and manufacturing process equipment -- according to its 10-K filing.



Wednesday's report revealed that after Apple's industrial design team, led by chief designer Jony Ive, comes up with a product idea, they then work with the company's hardware engineering group. Together, the teams develop large-scale methods for getting products with unique designs built.

"Apple engineers often spend weeks at facilities in Asia making sure the parts and equipment they buy or make are working properly," reporter Adam Satariano revealed.

The company has in the past built custom equipment to test new features, such as the motion-sensing advanced gyroscopes the company introduced in 2010 with the iPhone 4. According to Bloomberg, that feature was tested with an Apple invention involving a granite base and cubes that spin multiple iPhones around 30 degrees. The machines had to be manufactured by Apple and then provided to suppliers in China to test iPhone 4 models as they were built.

Machine


Details on new and more advanced manufacturing processes from Apple come as the company was revelealed to have inked a $578 million deal with GT Advanced Technology for sapphire crystal protective material. Apple already uses scratch-resistant sapphire to cover its camera lens and Touch ID home button on the iPhone 5s.

And starting this year, Apple has even brought machinery into its own retail stores to automatically fix customers' iPhones. The advanced machine helps to simplify display calibration for Apple's retail employees, which one employee described as like "bringing China to the Genius Room," referring to the fact that iPhones are built in China by Foxconn.
post #2 of 79
It is baffling how Wall Street knocks this incredible American company. Apple just seems to really have its act together.
post #3 of 79
LOL 10.5B in supply chain investment??? I thought that sales and demand for Apple products were trending downward despite quarter after quarter record sales. What a waste!

/s
post #4 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by muadibe View Post

It is baffling how Wall Street knocks this incredible American company. Apple just seems to really have its act together.
Or when people claim what Apple is doing is no big deal because the processes are used in other industries. But the point is a lot of this stuff isn't done in the consumer electronics space and certainly not to the scale Apple does it.
post #5 of 79
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Originally Posted by muadibe View Post

It is baffling how Wall Street knocks this incredible American company. Apple just seems to really have its act together.

 

Well sometimes....

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post #6 of 79
They say Tim Cook is a genius at manufacture and logistics. And geniuses change things. Could he be The Man who brings Manufacturing back to the US?
post #7 of 79

This could mean Apple maybe looking to become less dependent on Chinese labor intensive manufacturing. In China you can not automate something which can be done by a human. I have been inside factories over there where is was automated but, they still had people sitting at stations pushing buttons to execute the task. I asked why they actually needed a person to press the button and they answer always has been because china labor law required it.

 

If Apple heavily automates they may not be able to use this technology in China, since China is about putting people to work. Yeah we all know they use a vision system to match displays with cases on the iPhone 5, but a human can not do that task, as they said they system is looking at 700+ variables to determine the correct fit, a human can not do this. 

post #8 of 79

Just think how many Roomba's Apple will need for the new giant spaceship building?

 

Let me be the first to use "iRobot" in a comment, just to get that out of the way.

post #9 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

They say Tim Cook is a genius at manufacture and logistics. And geniuses change things. Could he be The Man who brings Manufacturing back to the US?

 

Yes, and he might lead the effort to keep robots from being unfairly discriminated against in the workplace.

post #10 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

They say Tim Cook is a genius at manufacture and logistics. And geniuses change things. Could he be The Man who brings Manufacturing back to the US?

I think you may have hit the nail on the head as to what the legacy of Tim Cook is going to be.

post #11 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post
 

 

Yes, and he might lead the effort to keep robots from being unfairly discriminated against in the workplace.

Heh. Geniuses only change things within their field, and his isn't politics. But he might write a heartfelt editorial about the robots.

post #12 of 79

Good for Apple in investment -- but folks, this is the scary bit about our future as employed people on this planet. Using the Capitalist model, the chance for "shovel ready" jobs to allow you to eat is scarcer than Unicorn wings. Even with some education, you are going to have to be more and more educated to be useful, and perhaps the limits of education and affording education will run smack into the reality of what most people can do. Once you drop off of the "clear path" to opportunity, you may never be able to get you or your children back on it.

 

Frankly; we have nothing in our society or government that resolves the issue of "replaced by a robot." And when the "singularity hits" -- where computers can be 'as smart as' the average person, nothing but some form of Socialism would be able to deal with the issue.

 

If we stay on the same path; most of us are not able to be useful enough to justify feeding us. Much less the environment surviving a "10% year over year" growth model. Communism is not supportable due to corruption, and Capitalism manages corruption but cannot support people or ecosystems and runs into a physical limit when there are not more people to exploit or more resources to use.

post #13 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewyboy View Post
 

I think you may have hit the nail on the head as to what the legacy of Tim Cook is going to be.

 

In the case of Apple; yes. But that's because they've got systems with enough cost and profit to justify capital investments. Until you get into the "billions of dollars" range with CPUs and Computer infrastructure -- a local company may not get over the hurdle. How many years of employment, for instance will it take for workers to equal the capital expenditure? 5 maybe 10?

 

The only REAL way to bring manufacturing back to the US is to start adding tariffs again to imported goods and services. We've been taught that this ruins an economy. Which is why China and India have exceeded our growth doing all the things we were taught not to do.

post #14 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

They say Tim Cook is a genius at manufacture and logistics. And geniuses change things. Could he be The Man who brings Manufacturing back to the US?

Not sure how you got that from this story.  Most of Apple's advanced manufacturing is done in Asia.  I didn't see anything in this story that suggested Apple was planning to change that.

post #15 of 79

Yeah, it's too bad Apple is just a marketing company. /s

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post #16 of 79
Ok so this may sound incredibly dumb but why is apple investing 10 billion dollars in something it doesn't own what if these manufacturing companies use this investment against apple
post #17 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

They say Tim Cook is a genius at manufacture and logistics. And geniuses change things. Could he be The Man who brings Manufacturing back to the US?

You done broke the code!
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post #18 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

Good for Apple in investment -- but folks, this is the scary bit about our future as employed people on this planet. Using the Capitalist model, the chance for "shovel ready" jobs to allow you to eat is scarcer than Unicorn wings. Even with some education, you are going to have to be more and more educated to be useful, and perhaps the limits of education and affording education will run smack into the reality of what most people can do. Once you drop off of the "clear path" to opportunity, you may never be able to get you or your children back on it.

Frankly; we have nothing in our society or government that resolves the issue of "replaced by a robot." And when the "singularity hits" -- where computers can be 'as smart as' the average person, nothing but some form of Socialism would be able to deal with the issue.

If we stay on the same path; most of us are not able to be useful enough to justify feeding us. Much less the environment surviving a "10% year over year" growth model. Communism is not supportable due to corruption, and Capitalism manages corruption but cannot support people or ecosystems and runs into a physical limit when there are not more people to exploit or more resources to use.

Only a fake Shatner would promote socialism.

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post #19 of 79
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Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

In the case of Apple; yes. But that's because they've got systems with enough cost and profit to justify capital investments. Until you get into the "billions of dollars" range with CPUs and Computer infrastructure -- a local company may not get over the hurdle. How many years of employment, for instance will it take for workers to equal the capital expenditure? 5 maybe 10?

The only REAL way to bring manufacturing back to the US is to start adding tariffs again to imported goods and services. We've been taught that this ruins an economy. Which is why China and India have exceeded our growth doing all the things we were taught not to do.

General purpose robots are not far off in the future and their appearance will presage the rise of highly capable artificial intelligence systems. We are just beginning to see some of this now. The fact is that both labor and manufacturing costs will continue to fall as computation continues to integrate and improve both facets of production. I predict much of manufacturing's labor performed by people will be replaced with general purpose robots over the next 10-20 years. The labor movement as a political force will be over.

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post #20 of 79
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Originally Posted by ascii View Post

They say Tim Cook is a genius at manufacture and logistics. And geniuses change things. Could he be The Man who brings Manufacturing back to the US?

The robotics are getting smaller every year and more intelligent that eventually, it's cheaper and more efficient to have robots that does the work better and more consistent than humans. You don't even have to feed them, limit them by the hours, pay raises, or anything like that. They'll do the work 24x7 happily. 

 

Even Foxconn said they're planning to replacing their human workforce with a million robots in a few years. Canon's already working on a fully automated factory that won't require any human workers. 

 

If Tim Cook brings back manufacturing to US, it won't be of any benefits to the US's workforce, it'd just be to reduce manufacturing costs and to maintain their high level of secrecy. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
 

Not sure how you got that from this story.  Most of Apple's advanced manufacturing is done in Asia.  I didn't see anything in this story that suggested Apple was planning to change that.

 

The core reason is because the current manufacturing still require a lot of humans to work on it, the locations in China are still cheaper with tax versus in US. 


Once the robotics takes over, there's no reason to keep them in Asia beside the tax rates. If the states in US want to earn some profit, they'll do everything they can to get Apple in US and they're doing it already. If they can lower tax rates to even with China or even cheaper, Apple'll do it. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixinmaster23 View Post

Ok so this may sound incredibly dumb but why is apple investing 10 billion dollars in something it doesn't own what if these manufacturing companies use this investment against apple

They do own it, they own the patents to anything they invent. They're just leasing them in Asia because it's cheaper there and the companies will pony up something in exchange to using Apple's tooling. In addition, there's nobody in US that'll do this, so Apple have no choice but to invest there. 

 

Apple isn't stupid, they'll have all sorts of agreements that's iron clad. There's a reason that there's no other company that have the same unibody construction that Apple had for more than half a decade. There are some companies that are close to doing it but that's because they're doing it on their own, not using Apple's inventions. 

post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixinmaster23 View Post

Ok so this may sound incredibly dumb but why is apple investing 10 billion dollars in something it doesn't own what if these manufacturing companies use this investment against apple

 

Apple own the machines (or in some cases when they lease them back at least until it is completly repaid), and they have binding contracts.

 

Where it is very smart, is that for the cost of eating the investment, which they can afford, they get access and possibly exclusive access of the partner  expertise without paying the hefty premium normally associated with that. The partner benefit to not have any worry about financing insuring lower costs. It is a win/win situation only  a company with an enormous war chest can afford.

 

To put things on perspective, Apple capex is almost the cost of the last US aircraft carrier, which is as investement the navy will pay in 12 years !  There is an article on Asymco about that.

post #22 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post
 

Good for Apple in investment -- but folks, this is the scary bit about our future as employed people on this planet. Using the Capitalist model, the chance for "shovel ready" jobs to allow you to eat is scarcer than Unicorn wings. Even with some education, you are going to have to be more and more educated to be useful, and perhaps the limits of education and affording education will run smack into the reality of what most people can do. Once you drop off of the "clear path" to opportunity, you may never be able to get you or your children back on it.

 

Frankly; we have nothing in our society or government that resolves the issue of "replaced by a robot." And when the "singularity hits" -- where computers can be 'as smart as' the average person, nothing but some form of Socialism would be able to deal with the issue.

 

If we stay on the same path; most of us are not able to be useful enough to justify feeding us. Much less the environment surviving a "10% year over year" growth model. Communism is not supportable due to corruption, and Capitalism manages corruption but cannot support people or ecosystems and runs into a physical limit when there are not more people to exploit or more resources to use.

I don't know if you noticed, but in the MacPro mfg plant, each robotic system was "manned" by a human being.  And who makes these robotic systems? Other robots?  They still need people, it's just that robots lessen the number of people required to do menial jobs.  Apple's not the only one that's been using robots, nor will they be the last.  They STILL have human beings doing final assembly.  It's just that they want precision and consistency in the mfg of their products. Robots rarely make mistakes, plus they can better manage their flow of components because they know precisely how much product they go through on a daily basis.  It's actually quite interesting to see the entire process and have someone explain what/how they manage each step of the process from start to finish.

 

This basically tells people that if you want to work, the minimum wage assembly jobs are still there, but it's better if you got a college education to man a robot rather than whining about it. I don't know what the job requirements are for being a robot operator, but I'm sure it's not a minimum wage job.  I think you would have to have maybe a mechanical engineering degree or some sort of related degree so when something happens or needs to be done with the robot, you aren't totally clueless.

 

Actually, the internet alone changed the landscape of the job market probably more than companies like Apple mfg electronic components.

 

People don't go to local retail stores as much as they did prior to the internet, which is why a lot of retail stores shut down.


Edited by drblank - 11/13/13 at 8:16am
post #23 of 79
I look forward to the day I can buy both an Apple robot assistant and an iCar.

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post #24 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixinmaster23 View Post

Ok so this may sound incredibly dumb but why is apple investing 10 billion dollars in something it doesn't own what if these manufacturing companies use this investment against apple

I think the story indicates that Apple will be making the manufacturing plant. That's why the ticket price is so high.

 

They already started to make the new Mac Pro "cylindrical" workstations here in the USA -- so in rebuttal to other comments here; yes, this does mean Apple is moving towards more manufacturing in the USA rather than just in China or South Korea. The cost difference in assembly is NOT the main reason they don't do it here -- it's procurement of the thousand and one electronic components. Either Apple is going to have components manufactured (unlikely) or they have better forecasting of needs and locked down arrangements with manufacturers to have them before they need them. Apple became masters at locking in contracts because that was how the PC industry like Dell and Compaq used to eat their lunch. Narrowing down the products they make and having large numbers helped them tremendously. Now Apple gets first pick on components and the other manufacturers have to scrounge for availability because none of them can equal the numbers (in one segment) for iPads, iPhones and laptops.

post #25 of 79
Hey Carl, this is where Apple should spend its money.
post #26 of 79

I've heard that argument before of "people" having to manage the robots. Sure. But that also means that one person is replacing a dozen or more real people. The robot assembly isn't one person, one robot, so there is a huge reduction in number of workers.

 

The computer increased US productivity per worker -- but that did NOT translate into increased wages. It translated into "efficiency" and profits for owners.

 

Look, we've had decades to look at efficiency -- and just like "trickle down" -- it isn't a blessing for most people. That's where we have to have a society and government that forces an equitable arrangement.

 

Right now, things are corrupt and breaking down, and they will continue on that course until broken. There is no mechanism to change that. Rich people do not go to jail and they write the laws now.

post #27 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Only a fake Shatner would promote socialism.
An improved Capitalism is not Socialism. This kind of knee-jerk reaction to any thoughtful critique of the status quo serves no useful purpose.
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post #28 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

I think the story indicates that Apple will be making the manufacturing plant. That's why the ticket price is so high.

They already started to make the new Mac Pro "cylindrical" workstations here in the USA -- so in rebuttal to other comments here; yes, this does mean Apple is moving towards more manufacturing in the USA rather than just in China or South Korea. The cost difference in assembly is NOT the main reason they don't do it here -- it's procurement of the thousand and one electronic components. Either Apple is going to have components manufactured (unlikely) or they have better forecasting of needs and locked down arrangements with manufacturers to have them before they need them. Apple became masters at locking in contracts because that was how the PC industry like Dell and Compaq used to eat their lunch. Narrowing down the products they make and having large numbers helped them tremendously. Now Apple gets first pick on components and the other manufacturers have to scrounge for availability because none of them can equal the numbers (in one segment) for iPads, iPhones and laptops.

The Mac Pro involves potentially more customization from buyers and the numbers for manufacture will be far smaller than the numbers of iPads and iPhones or even iMacs.

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post #29 of 79
I do hope Shatner is right. I can't help but wonder what Apple gets out of this "gift" to other companies over and above the obvious improved efficiencies. Would love to read the contracts.
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post #30 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


Only a fake Shatner would promote socialism.

 

Only a fool would NOT promote socialism.

 

I'm from Canada, BTW.

post #31 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

Only a fool would NOT promote socialism.

I'm from Canada, BTW.

Only a Canadian would say something so foolish.

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post #32 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


The Mac Pro involves potentially more customization from buyers and the numbers for manufacture will be far smaller than the numbers of iPads and iPhones or even iMacs.

In the case of the Mac Pro, they've got a higher margin product -- so it's not the same as all the "iDevices." They'll be using robots as well and newer assembly plants can handle customization better.

 

People are already building "3d Printers" at home -- so the age of manufacturing is going to go through drastic changes in the coming years.

 

A lot of people really aren't thinking about the implications of "good robotics", automated manufacturing,  and possibly "human like" intelligence from computers in about 15 years or less. And as far as manufacturing, robots don't need to know or understand human speech - so the clock on that is a lot less than for the singularity.

 

There's a bit of code out there now for interpreting human writing as "positive or negative." There's code for data mining to understand connections and the relative weightings of our relationships. The coming change in automating basic human abilities is so much larger than the change the Internet brought. So far, I see no leadership dealing with the issue, much less repairing the "controversies" which would be resolved with the New Deal from the 1950's when we didn't have most of these problems.

post #33 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


Only a Canadian would say something so foolish.

 

I'm betting history will prove me right -- as it has so many times. You on the other hand, are probably gifted with selective memory, and will remember arguing that laissez-faire capitalism was failure and that everyone should have supported green technologies sooner.

 

Regardless of what anyone says right now - they will all OF COURSE believe these things in the future. Already, we now know that nobody voted for George Bush.

post #34 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post
 

 

Only a fool would NOT promote socialism.

 

I'm from Canada, BTW.

It's how socialism is done. I'm for a system that takes the best of socialism and the best of capitalism and puts them together so it's not pure of either.  It's been proven time and time again that neither works in their purest form.  Our country just became TOO capitalistic and it needs to have more socialistic pressures to equal things out again.  But the capitalists get torqued off and bent out of shape when they don't get their way since they are usually whiney, spoiled, selfish people that promote crooked forms of capitalism.

 

Companies will get rid of older, more experienced people that have increased their wages due to being in the work force gaining that experience, and then a lot of these companies lay people off when they get pressure from the institutional shareholders to increase profits, and then they rehire younger kids without that experience to do the same job (with a different job title) for less money.  There are a lot of experienced, educated people in their 40's and 50's that can't get jobs because they can't get work because kids with less experience are taking those positions over getting paid less money.

 

I see that as a bigger problem.

 

It's funny how a company will go through the hassle of hiring someone to make them a "valued" employee, yet be the first to turn on a dime and lay people off, when upper management makes mistakes. I'm surprised there wasn't a bunch of CEO's getting whacked due to ex-employees going postal over the past 12 years.  I think the labor laws need to be changed or enforced where if a person is to be let go or laid off, there needs to be some enforced rule where they have to rehire those people when there are openings unless the person has been fired, retired, or left on their own.   I thought there was that law, but apparently, they aren't enforced unless there is a Union behind those positions.

 

These CEOs might want to stare in the mirror and ask themselves WHY are they are in the position of not making better profits and who  REALLY needs to lose their job?    

post #35 of 79

Middle class america as we have known in this country for the last half decade is dead. The sooner people realize that the better. I know that and knew I had to make sure I got on the upswing to be in the new "middle class". They say the median income in america is 45-50k. I don't know a single person that makes that. I know plenty of people making 30k, I was one of them, and I know plenty of people making 70-85k. So there is the gap everyone talks about.

 

As far manufacturing, coding is the new manufacturing of the 21st century. Coding jobs are becoming a dime a dozen. You can be on the "assembly line" all the way to being the "foreman" for coding. It's what the world drives on (no pun intended). That's why you see this huge push to teach kids coding at a young age.. it's the mass job market of the future.. well actually now. Demand for business, finance, engineers, will be consistent but for comp. sci, it's blowing up in demand.

 

So to recap, middle class of ole is dead. Manufacturing is not what needs to be focused on, that battle is lost to robots. Focus on the new "manufacturing" which is coding. India & Europe are winning that one as far as I can see.

post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by muadibe View Post

It is baffling how Wall Street knocks this incredible American company. Apple just seems to really have its act together.

Not baffling at all .... as noted by my new signature.

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post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewyboy View Post
 

Middle class america as we have known in this country for the last half decade is dead. The sooner people realize that the better. I know that and knew I had to make sure I got on the upswing to be in the new "middle class". They say the median income in america is 45-50k. I don't know a single person that makes that. I know plenty of people making 30k, I was one of them, and I know plenty of people making 70-85k. So there is the gap everyone talks about.

 

As far manufacturing, coding is the new manufacturing of the 21st century. Coding jobs are becoming a dime a dozen. You can be on the "assembly line" all the way to being the "foreman" for coding. It's what the world drives on (no pun intended). That's why you see this huge push to teach kids coding at a young age.. it's the mass job market of the future.. well actually now. Demand for business, finance, engineers, will be consistent but for comp. sci, it's blowing up in demand.

 

So to recap, middle class of ole is dead. Manufacturing is not what needs to be focused on, that battle is lost to robots. Focus on the new "manufacturing" which is coding. India & Europe are winning that one as far as I can see.

I think what someone thinks is middle class isn't and it's largely dependent on where they live.  I sat down and quickly devised what the different classes are and what their net worth is for each category.  See if you agree.

 

Upper Upper Class  > $10 Billion

Upper Class $1 Bil - $9.99 Billion

Lower Upper Class $100 Mil to $999.99 Million

Upper Middle Class $10 Mil to $99.99 Million

Middle Class $1 Mil to $9.99 Million

Lower Middle Class $100K to $999.99K

Upper Lower Class $10K to $99.99K

Lower Class $1K to $9.99K

Lower Lower Class <$1K

 

It's not necessarily how much one makes a year, it's more how much one is worth.  Some people invest money and are able to actually earn (on paper anyway) a large percentage of what they actually make.  If one invests monthly into a decent portfolio, it's possible that if nothing major goes wrong and that person is always working that after 20 years or so, you might actually make more money a year from your investment than you do from your yearly salary.  Most people don't know this and then there is the unfortunate problems that prevent us from always working which is what causes those trying to climb up the ladder get screwed along the way.


Edited by drblank - 11/13/13 at 8:55am
post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

This could mean Apple maybe looking to become less dependent on Chinese labor intensive manufacturing. In China you can not automate something which can be done by a human. I have been inside factories over there where is was automated but, they still had people sitting at stations pushing buttons to execute the task. I asked why they actually needed a person to press the button and they answer always has been because china labor law required it.

 

If Apple heavily automates they may not be able to use this technology in China, since China is about putting people to work. Yeah we all know they use a vision system to match displays with cases on the iPhone 5, but a human can not do that task, as they said they system is looking at 700+ variables to determine the correct fit, a human can not do this. 

It's the 21st Century equivalent of "featherbedding" - when union rules required that trains continue to have both an engineer and a "fireman" in the engine cab long after there was no wood or coal to shovel...

...and to many other labor situation rules, e.g., in the auto industry, when production line technology came along...

As industrial unionism has helped put enough drag on many traditional industries that used to be located mainly in the US to erode the base of unionized industries (their power base and membership has moved to our arthereosclerotic public sector), the US is actually in a position to "right-size" the next generation of producing goods domestically.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post
 

Good for Apple in investment -- but folks, this is the scary bit about our future as employed people on this planet. Using the Capitalist model, the chance for "shovel ready" jobs to allow you to eat is scarcer than Unicorn wings. Even with some education, you are going to have to be more and more educated to be useful, and perhaps the limits of education and affording education will run smack into the reality of what most people can do. Once you drop off of the "clear path" to opportunity, you may never be able to get you or your children back on it.

 

Frankly; we have nothing in our society or government that resolves the issue of "replaced by a robot." And when the "singularity hits" -- where computers can be 'as smart as' the average person, nothing but some form of Socialism would be able to deal with the issue.

 

If we stay on the same path; most of us are not able to be useful enough to justify feeding us. Much less the environment surviving a "10% year over year" growth model. Communism is not supportable due to corruption, and Capitalism manages corruption but cannot support people or ecosystems and runs into a physical limit when there are not more people to exploit or more resources to use.

Some new form of economic system will emerge in the wake of the robotics and AI revolutions - and (as has happened numerous times since 1800) large proportions of today's workplace segment will be displaced - however, if it's a workable one it won't be the discredited-by-experience 19th Century utopian socialism, nor "laissez-faire" capitalism (which, btw, has pretty much ceased to exist for large organizations around the world).....

...new times require new solutions and new thinking about sustainable - but not mega-government controlled - ways of producing wealth and making a share available to all.  

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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post #39 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post
 

I think what someone thinks is middle class isn't and it's largely dependent on where they live.  I sat down and quickly devised what the different classes are and what their net worth is for each category.  See if you agree.

 

Upper Upper Class  > $10 Billion

Upper Class $1 Bil - $9.99 Billion

Lower Upper Class $100 Mil to $999.99 Million

Upper Middle Class $10 to $99.99 Million

Middle Class $1 Mil to $9.99 Million

Lower Middle Class $100K to $999.99K

Upper Lower Class $10K to $99.99K

Lower Class $1K to $9.99K

Lower Lower Class <$1K

 

It's not necessarily how much one makes a year, it's more how much one is worth.  Some people invest money and are able to actually earn (on paper anyway) a large percentage of what they actually make.  If one invests monthly into a decent portfolio, it's possible that if nothing major goes wrong and that person is always working that after 20 years or so, you might actually make more money a year from your investment than you do from your yearly salary.  Most people don't know this and then there is the unfortunate problems that prevent us from always working which is what causes those trying to climb up the ladder get screwed along the way.

I should have clarified. I was more so talking about just annual income from pay wages. Now if we're talking net worth, I'd say drblank that those numbers are probably pretty stink'n close. But the question arises, what's the spread against the population w/ those numbers? I'd say in the USA it's clearly lopsided to Upper Lower Class and Low Middle class. And that's across all ages in the US. I know many people how are nearing or are in "retirement" age and hardly have much, if anything saved. I know I'm negative, but hey, I'm only a few years out of college and hammering away at student loans. I know that when retirement comes (which I personally don't believe in), I'm not going to be caught w/ my pants down.

post #40 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
 

Heh. Geniuses only change things within their field, and his isn't politics. But he might write a heartfelt editorial about the robots.

polymath , such as Leonardo da Vinci, might disagree with you.

See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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