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Apple details new MacBook manufacturing process

post #1 of 110
Thread Starter 
Apple's new MacBook and MacBook Pro feature precision unibody enclosures milled from an extruded block of aluminum, allowing them to get even thinner while retaining rigid durability and a stronger, cleaner, and more polished design. Here's a detailed overview of the process, illustrated with photos.

In a press release touting the new manufacturing process, Steve Jobs said, Apple has invented a whole new way of building notebooks from a single block of aluminum." (Watch the video)

Jonathan Ive, Apples senior vice president of Industrial Design, noted that, "Traditionally notebooks are made from multiple parts. With the new MacBook, weve replaced all of those parts with just one partthe unibody. The MacBooks unibody enclosure is made from a single block of aluminum, making the new MacBook fundamentally thinner, stronger and more robust with a fit and finish that weve never even dreamed of before.

CNC unibody fabrication

The previous MacBook Pro uses a thin, bowl-shaped shell that has an internal skeleton to hold the internal parts together. The top bezel lays on top and is screwed in place on the sides and back edge. These pieces allow for some tolerance, requiring plastic gaskets to fit the components together snugly.

The new 15" MacBook Pro, along with its nearly identical 13.3" MacBook version, start with an extruded block of aluminum that is carved out using CNC or "computer numerical control" machines in a process used by the aerospace industry to build mission critical, high precision components.

The process starts with raw aluminum, selected for its favorable strength to weight ratio and the flexibility it offers in processing and finishing.





Extruded aluminum sheets are cut into blocks that undergo 13 separate milling operations.



Apple uses CNC to precision cut keyboard holes from the face of the slab (below top), mill out the "thumbscoop" that provides enough of a recession to open the display lid comfortably without putting too much pressure on the lid, machine out complex patterns from the inside (below middle) and perforate the speaker grill holes using lasers (below bottom).







A portion of the front edge is milled thin enough that a laser can be used to micro-perforate the metal to allow light from the sleep indicator LED to pass through the metal. When the sleep indicator is off, the metal appears to be solid. Apple has already used this process on the MacBook Air and the Bluetooth Keyboard that shipped last fall alongside the aluminum iMac.

Once the inside is precision cut (below top) leaving a design that is, as Ive observed, "in many ways more beautifully internally than externally", the edges are rounded and polished (below bottom).





The environmentally-friendly recycled bits

The material machined from the aluminum block is collected and recycled. Jobs noted that the new MacBooks "are the industrys greenest notebooks.

Apple says the entire new MacBook line meets stringent Energy Star 4.0, EPEAT Gold and RoHS environmental standards, and leads the industry in the elimination of toxic chemicals by containing no brominated flame retardants, using only PVC-free internal cables and components, and using energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass.

Glass-faced, LED backlit display

The environmentally-friendly LED backlit display also offers other advantages; it turns on instantly when the display is opened as there is no warm up time required by a conventional cold cathode fluorescent lamp backlight.

It also requires less energy, allowing for 30% better efficiency while providing a brighter, more vivid display, or in the words of Bob Mansfield, Senior Vice President of Mac Hardware, "what you notice as a customer is that the color has a lot more pop."

Unlike the existing MacBook Pro, which houses the display recessed into an aluminum frame, the new design fits the display into a thinner lid and the entire inside face of the panel is covered with a single glass panel similar to the face of the iPhone, with a black margin around the display (below).



The new MacBook and MacBook Pro are detailed in:

Apple unveils new 13" MacBook
Apple debuts new 15" MacBook Pro
post #2 of 110
Bad ass. Good coverage. I love the part about indicator lights looking like solid metal. Sweet.
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post #3 of 110
Are they any lighter though?
post #4 of 110
Sure, you can make notebook computers this way, and sure, people are going to like it.

But what Apple needed to do, above all else, was lower the production cost of their computers, especially their notebook computers, to make them more competitive with other notebook computers that run Microsoft's OS.

Instead, THEY DID EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF THE ONE THING THAT ABOVE ALL ELSE, THEY NEEDED TO DO!!!!!!!!!

THIS DOES NOT MAKE A WHIT OF SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

IT IS A FIASCO OF INESTIMABLE MAGNITUDE!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT IN HEAVEN'S NAME WERE THEY THINKING?????????????

IT IS JOBS MENTAL HEALTH, NOT HIS PHYSICAL HEALTH, THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE QUESTIONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ANYONE AND EVERYONE WHO HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS SHOULD BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!
post #5 of 110
HOLY COW!

The good thing is that prices can be dropped. Rarely can they be raised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

sure, you can make notebook computers this way, and sure, people are going to like it.

But what apple needed to do, above all else, was lower the production cost of their computers, especially their notebook computers, to make them more competitive with other notebook computers that run microsoft's os.

Instead, they did exactly the opposite of the one thing that above all else, they needed to do!!!!!!!!!

This does not make a whit of sense!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is a fiasco of inestimable magnitude!!!!!!!!!!!

What in heaven's name were they thinking?????????????

It is jobs mental health, not his physical health, that people should be questioning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone and everyone who had anything to do with this should be fired immediately!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!
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post #6 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Sure, you can make notebook computers this way, and sure, people are going to like it.

But what Apple needed to do, above all else, was lower the production cost of their computers, especially their notebook computers, to make them more competitive with other notebook computers that run Microsoft's OS.

Instead, THEY DID EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF THE ONE THING THAT ABOVE ALL ELSE, THEY NEEDED TO DO!!!!!!!!!

THIS DOES NOT MAKE A WHIT OF SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

IT IS A FIASCO OF INESTIMABLE MAGNITUDE!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT IN HEAVEN'S NAME WERE THEY THINKING?????????????

IT IS JOBS MENTAL HEALTH, NOT HIS PHYSICAL HEALTH, THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE QUESTIONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ANYONE AND EVERYONE WHO HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS SHOULD BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!

Right, because Apple has been hurting so bad by making products that are more expensive than their PC counterparts. If they can keep the momentum going with this lineup and continue to out sell PCs (Y.O.Y. % gain) they are set. I think with these offerings they might not gain quite as much tho - I do think those 999 MBs are going to continue to fly off the shelves.

You should stay away from the RedBull by the way...
post #7 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Sure, you can make notebook computers this way, and sure, people are going to like it.

But what Apple needed to do, above all else, was lower the production cost of their computers, especially their notebook computers, to make them more competitive with other notebook computers that run Microsoft's OS.

Instead, THEY DID EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF THE ONE THING THAT ABOVE ALL ELSE, THEY NEEDED TO DO!!!!!!!!!

THIS DOES NOT MAKE A WHIT OF SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

IT IS A FIASCO OF INESTIMABLE MAGNITUDE!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT IN HEAVEN'S NAME WERE THEY THINKING?????????????

IT IS JOBS MENTAL HEALTH, NOT HIS PHYSICAL HEALTH, THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE QUESTIONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ANYONE AND EVERYONE WHO HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS SHOULD BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!

I totally agree.

The MacBooks are now *more* expensive. Aren't much lighter (half a pound less).

Perhaps they are stronger...but really...the process of carving the frame out of a block of aluminum is quite expensive.
post #8 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Sure, you can make notebook computers this way, and sure, people are going to like it.

...

WHAT IN HEAVEN'S NAME WERE THEY THINKING?????????????

That's a head scratcher all right
post #9 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Sure, you can make notebook computers this way, and sure, people are going to like it.

But what Apple needed to do, above all else, was lower the production cost of their computers, especially their notebook computers, to make them more competitive with other notebook computers that run Microsoft's OS.

Instead, THEY DID EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF THE ONE THING THAT ABOVE ALL ELSE, THEY NEEDED TO DO!!!!!!!!!

THIS DOES NOT MAKE A WHIT OF SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

IT IS A FIASCO OF INESTIMABLE MAGNITUDE!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT IN HEAVEN'S NAME WERE THEY THINKING?????????????

IT IS JOBS MENTAL HEALTH, NOT HIS PHYSICAL HEALTH, THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE QUESTIONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ANYONE AND EVERYONE WHO HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS SHOULD BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!

No matter what you say, Apple will never satisfy you and your eight-year old Sony pc desktop.
post #10 of 110
Damnit to hell, this method for mass production of notebook computers is utter insanity!!

It is one of the most absolutely ludicrous things that i've ever heard of!

If it weren't true, and someone told me that apple was going to try to remain competive in the notebook computer market by milling the cases out of billet aluminum, i would assume that it was a joke, because that is how utterly preposterous this is.

If his goal was to run the company completely into the ground, this is exactly the sort of thing that would promote that goal!

But if the goal is to compete in the notebook computer market and continue to take market share from wintel while not lowering margins, this is the worst imaginable thing that they could possibly have come up with!! It's absolutely insane!

There are no words to adequately convey just how utterly asinine this truely is. These people have completely lost their minds, and they should be removed from their positions and replaced by people who have a modicum of sense before they completely run Apple into the ground. I don't care how long Jobs has been running this company or how many smart decisions he has made. This insanity has got to be brought to an end.
post #11 of 110
I always heard that a job shop would get killed having anything more than 50% scrap metal out of the process. Can you do centrifugal casting on aluminum and then just tool the remaining features that can't be cast? Seems so wasteful from an energy perspective.
post #12 of 110
Yes, it's about half a pound (~225g) lighter compared to the now still available 13" white polycarbonate MacBook.

In other economic times, the importance of this technology would be better appreciated. Unfortunately, price and "value for money" (i.e. features) rule the roost now.

Still, from an engineering stand-point, it is impressive. Not sure if it's revolutionary if Apple's hyperbole is to be believed. The manufacturing techniques are well known and applied to other military grade components (e.g. avionics modules on fighter aircraft) for years, but not necessarily a "consumer grade" notebook computer.

Will this new aluminium MacBook be any more tougher than the polycarbonate one? On paper should be, but we'll have to wait for some real-world tests, erm... accidents.

-YipYipYipee
post #13 of 110
In this age of massively mass production (cutting corners), I greatly value a company that is willing to go to these lengths. Craftsmanship and attention to detail are what sets apple apart. I don't truly believe in my heart that they are overtly interested in attracting the sub-$1000 notebook crowd.

Regarding the amount of aluminum lost during milling...it's aluminum! One would think they'd have set up shop to reclaim most of that and return it to the process. I'd be interested in knowing if that's not feasible or possible.
post #14 of 110
Some people fail to understand that a major reduction in the number of pieces a notebook case is made out of leads to a significant reduction in rework, scrap, and quality issues. Case flex is very very bad for lead-free solder joints. They are very brittle and hate movement.

The tighter a notebook feels, the better quality it will have. Any aluminum bits or damaged cases will be recycled into new housings eventually. No waste.

No where does it say this process is more expensive than the old way. I see easier assembly and an totally automated process. This means lower cost.

No plastic bits to break. No crappy edges. No thin housings that dent easily. This is a good thing. Way to go, Jobs. Now release the Aluminum billet iMac!
post #15 of 110
This is terribly simple. Some of you don't get it, and Jobs obviously does not get it, but he has obviously gone insane. So let me spell it out to you in black and white:

1. The investment community has factored into the price for Apple's stock, the assumption that Apple will continue to gain market share.

2. In order for Apple to continue to gain market share, there is virtually unanimous agreement within the investment community that Apple must reduce the production cost of their computers, particularly their notebook computers, because whereas the price for notebook computers of the Wintel variety has declined considerably in recent years, the price for Apple notebook computers has remained practically the same.

3. In order for Apple to reduce the production cost of their notebook computers, they need to migrate to lower-cost manufacturing processes. Instead, they moved to a higher-cost manufacturing process, and one that is not just a little bit higher than the process used by the competitors, but one that is much, much higher than the process used by the competitors.

Now, what part of this is it exactly that all of you brave defenders of Jobs and company disagree with? To me, it is about as simple as it could possibly be, and I cannot help but conclude that this is one of the absolute worst business decisions that I have ever witnessed. It ranks right up there with some of the stuff that AT&T did right after the breakup in the mid '80s, when they wasted tons of capital trying to sell computers that no one wanted, and when they subsequently acquired NCR and then ran that company into the ground as well. I've seen lots of really good business decisions, and lots of really bad ones. The bad ones all have a very bad smell about them, that people too close to it can't smell because they all suffer from olfactory fatigue and because the people in control form a tight circle and exclude anyone who might be inclined to tell them that they've lost their minds.

THEY HAVE LOST THEIR MINDS!!! IN ORDER FOR APPLE'S STOCK TO APPRECIATE IN VALUE, IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY THAT THEY START MANUFACTURING AND SELLING NOTEBOOK COMPUTERS WHERE THE PRODUCTION COSTS HAVE BE REDUCED, NOT INCREASED! WHAT APPLE HAS DONE HERE, SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK FOR APPLE! PEOPLE WHO HAVE PURCHASED STOCK IN APPLE HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO DEMAND THAT APPLE MAKE DECISIONS THAT ARE ORIENTED TOWARD INCREASING MARKET SHARE AND INCREASING PROFIT, SO THAT THE VALUE OF THE STOCK WILL INCREASE! IT IS THE RIGHT OF STOCKHOLDERS TO DEMAND THIS, AND MOST CEO's UNDERSTAND THIS AND TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. INCREDIBLY AS IT SEEMS, JOBS EVIDENTLY DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THIS, AND THAT IS WHY HE SHOULD BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY!
post #16 of 110
kaiser_soze: Yes we get the point, stop posting the same rant over and over.
post #17 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Are they any lighter though?

I think so. From searching the MacBook was 5.2 pounds, now 4.5 pounds. The 12" PB was 4.6 pounds.
post #18 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

This is terribly simple. Some of you don't get it, and Jobs obviously does not get it, but he has obviously gone insane. So let me spell it out to you in black and white:

Your the one that doesn't get it. This manufacturing process will likely reduce costs. Machines make things cheaper than people and make things consistently (less chance for screw-ups.

Besides, Apple has had no problem increasing market share with the laptops at the price they are and with all the features. Even the PC magazines say they are the best and fastest PCs to run Vista, which is totally ironic, considering they're sold to run MacOS.
post #19 of 110
Isn't it that when we consider the cost of this kind of tooling we are automatically thinking about it being done in the "west". May be the Chinese shops are getting to a level of sophistication where they can deliver this kind of product ... hence the cost of it is a fraction of what would be consider norm. Anyway ... I am not an engineer and know very little about this stuff.
post #20 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post

kaiser_soze: Yes we get the point, stop posting the same rant over and over.

Once again, Apple is doing what they want, not what everyone else says they should do.

Perhaps this sort of experiment would make sense on a premium product but not the entry level. No wonder they are keeping the plastic model going at a lower price. I suspect the latter move was out of necessity because of the economic meltdown. I would not be too surprised if making the new model came out more expensive than expected and Jobs insisted on it anyway.

Sometimes, Apple has been right and everyone else wrong. I have my doubts this time.

Philip Machanick creator of Opinionations and Green Grahamstown
Department of Computer Science, Rhodes University, South Africa

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Philip Machanick creator of Opinionations and Green Grahamstown
Department of Computer Science, Rhodes University, South Africa

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post #21 of 110
Kaiser, seriously -- not everyone has bought stocks in Apple. Couple that with the fact that this economic problem is not going to last forever and Apple is going to sell lots of computers no matter how many times you demand Job's resignation and quite frankly, you just come across as annoying.

I'm finally going to update my computer from 2004. Many people are. And for all the money savers out there, you've got the sub-1000 notebook also available. Apple is catering to everyone and also progressing technology forward. Quit with your doomsday talks, just because you've got some Apple stock. If you haven't noticed, all stocks have plummetted. All of them.
post #22 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by codachrome View Post

In this age of massively mass production (cutting corners), I greatly value a company that is willing to go to these lengths. Craftsmanship and attention to detail are what sets apple apart. I don't truly believe in my heart that they are overtly interested in attracting the sub-$1000 notebook crowd.

Regarding the amount of aluminum lost during milling...it's aluminum! One would think they'd have set up shop to reclaim most of that and return it to the process. I'd be interested in knowing if that's not feasible or possible.

You are absolutely right that they are not interested in the sub-$1000 notebook crowd. That is evident. But the problem is that if they want to do what is right for the people who own their stock, they have to make smart business decisions, and this is probably the worst business decision that they could possibly have made.

The aluminum is certainly recoverable and that is certainly the norm with this sort of thing, but that doesn't have much at all to do with the cost. Aluminum is exceedingly cheap. The cost is due to the need to have very expensive machinery, which equates to a very high cost per operational hour, dedicated to making these things.

In the presentation, they acted as though this was a brilliant idea on their part, as though they had a revelation of some sort in using this method. That is just plain old spinning the facts. It is plainly obvious to anyone who has ever observed these sorts of machines in operation that you could do just about anything with them, to include manufacturing the chassis for notebook computers. The reason that no one else has done this is quite simply that no one else is stupid enough to ignore the consideration of cost. Jobs and company clearly tried to divert the focus away from that and to give the impression that the reason that no other company has done this to this point is that it just didn't occur to anyone else to do it. That is preposterous, and it amounts to a boldface lie.
post #23 of 110
Kaiser, you'd better take your dollars and your spluttering anger and vote elsewhere - buy a Vaio and start your own blog to rant away in. Time and time again over the years people have questioned Jobs' and Apple's pricing policies - me included - and for the most part - while we're always thinking in terms of our own pockets, Jobs is thinking in terms of long-term customer and shareholder benefit. He's been right and we've been wrong. At this stage, economic turmoil or not, I think he'll most likely be right again.
post #24 of 110
When no one else will listen to a person face-to-face, his last recourse is a site like this. When someone is unsuccessful in almost everything else he does, his last recourse is a site like this. When someone's meds finally fail to achieve the desired results anymore, his last recourse is a site like this.

Eh, kaiser soze? (Interesting nom-de-net, ks: a character from "The Usual Suspects" in which an inveterate liar and criminal manages to pull the wool over everyone's eyes with his dissimulation. Sounds appropriate, given the positions you've taken here. Should we lend credence to one word you've said? Doubtful. Just another fake-out, huh?)
post #25 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Sure, you can make notebook computers this way, and sure, people are going to like it.

But what Apple needed to do, above all else, was lower the production cost of their computers, especially their notebook computers, to make them more competitive with other notebook computers that run Microsoft's OS.

Instead, THEY DID EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF THE ONE THING THAT ABOVE ALL ELSE, THEY NEEDED TO DO!!!!!!!!!

THIS DOES NOT MAKE A WHIT OF SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

IT IS A FIASCO OF INESTIMABLE MAGNITUDE!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT IN HEAVEN'S NAME WERE THEY THINKING?????????????

IT IS JOBS MENTAL HEALTH, NOT HIS PHYSICAL HEALTH, THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE QUESTIONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ANYONE AND EVERYONE WHO HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS SHOULD BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!



Chill Man, just like Lexus will never be as cheap as Honda. Honda will never be as good as Lexus.
Apple had me at scrolling
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Apple had me at scrolling
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post #26 of 110
kaiser_soze, it's not necessary to write entire sentences or entire paragraphs in full caps. It is the written equivalent of yelling, and doing that while questioning someone else's sanity makes you look like the crazy one. Even if your points are valid, it's hard to ignore the emotional content.
post #27 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

Damnit to hell, this method for mass production of notebook computers is utter insanity!!

It is one of the most absolutely ludicrous things that i've ever heard of!

If it weren't true, and someone told me that apple was going to try to remain competive in the notebook computer market by milling the cases out of billet aluminum, i would assume that it was a joke, because that is how utterly preposterous this is.

If his goal was to run the company completely into the ground, this is exactly the sort of thing that would promote that goal!

But if the goal is to compete in the notebook computer market and continue to take market share from wintel while not lowering margins, this is the worst imaginable thing that they could possibly have come up with!! It's absolutely insane!

There are no words to adequately convey just how utterly asinine this truely is. These people have completely lost their minds, and they should be removed from their positions and replaced by people who have a modicum of sense before they completely run Apple into the ground. I don't care how long Jobs has been running this company or how many smart decisions he has made. This insanity has got to be brought to an end.


Dude, Seriously. Go buy a Dell and install Leopard. There are people who will pay these money for such computers. Just like people buy expensive Houses, Cars, Boats and phones. If you don't understand the differences I feel bad for you.

This new process will pay off in years to come. No other computer can do this. NO ONE!
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Apple had me at scrolling
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post #28 of 110
I have mixed feelings about this. As a stockholder, I really wish they'd done more to make a cheaper mac. The $999 macbook is good, I suppose (maybe cheaper, I never priced them), but is still a major purchase. I really didn't expect them to make a $600 netbook, though I wish they would think about it. The decisions to create this process and these high end notebooks was made before the market tanked, so I don't know how Apple would be expected to respond to that beyond pricing differences which would cut back on margins, and maybe they did that.

As an Apple fan I like what they just released. By creating this superstrong frame they've differentiated themselves and made computers that will probably last at least a year longer and have fewer failures. There'll be fewer parts and maybe after they optimize the process it can be equivalent or cheaper than the old way. At least if they have a bad run they can just melt down what they made, recalibrate the machine, and run it again without waiting for something new to be designed. One of the things that got me into macs was that they made high quality computers and didn't just do what everyone else was doing to make money (living quarter to quarter). No one else has the trackpad, the new display, or the frame. Plus they fixed the harddrive replacement issue.

I'm long on Apple and I think Steve is thinking long too. If they use cheap parts like many others they're just going to hurt their brand that took them years of innovation and work to build. It sucks that my stock will probably take a hit, but it's about to be Christmas, there's new Macbooks, which are the top sellers right now, iPhones are selling out and the bailout is under way, so maybe there's hope.
post #29 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by YipYipYipee View Post

Will this new aluminium MacBook be any more tougher than the polycarbonate one? On paper should be, but we'll have to wait for some real-world tests, erm... accidents.

Indeed, there could be some ramifications from this new process that can't be seen at the moment. E.g., does an increased "fit and finish" lead to fewer overall returns? Both in the out-of-the-box and the reduced wear-and-tear experiences? Might there be an easier servicing of units that do need repair, thus saving labor (time) costs? Aluminum frames that don't meet QA standards, since they're of one material, can be recycled easier than composite frames that require disassembly first. I'm just throwing out possibilities might not be obvious at first, to explain the "insanity" that another poster mentioned.

Of course, we haven't even mentioned the concept of "brand", something which is worth billions to Apple and which is worth preserving, even if means taking a hit in the short term (Oppenheimer only warned of lower margins in the current quarter, so I'm assuming that the manufacturing process will ramp and scale appropriately).

Apple could choose not to build stores with expensive glass facades and glass staircases, nor install Genius bars with more expensive personnel (compared to phone bank operators). But they do, to create and solidify brand awareness with the consumer. Similarly, Apple "de-commoditizes" its products by distinguishing them from the rest of the PC pack (to wit, eschewing the use of Intel reference designs in this latest update).

How much is brand worth? Just look at the steady upticks in market share that Cook pointed out this morning. This redesign of the portables with the new process is part of the overall strategy of keeping Apple products distinctive and unique.

Who was it who recently pointed out that the iPhone is the only phone he could think of that didn't have the company's logo plastered on the front? Now *that* is brand!
post #30 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post

I totally agree.

The MacBooks are now *more* expensive. Aren't much lighter (half a pound less).

Perhaps they are stronger...but really...the process of carving the frame out of a block of aluminum is quite expensive.

More expensive Are you kidding The price has not changed but the quality and the speed has gotten better. That's what it's all about.

I bet you'll find that the cost to make the new frame is not much different than the all of the pieces of the old one. Remember on the old one you have many pieces to make, some which are also machined, and then put them together. With the new way you only have to add the final components onto the plate and I'll bet that's almost completely automated.
post #31 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Some people fail to understand that a major reduction in the number of pieces a notebook case is made out of leads to a significant reduction in rework, scrap, and quality issues. Case flex is very very bad for lead-free solder joints. They are very brittle and hate movement.

The tighter a notebook feels, the better quality it will have. Any aluminum bits or damaged cases will be recycled into new housings eventually. No waste.

No where does it say this process is more expensive than the old way. I see easier assembly and an totally automated process. This means lower cost.

No plastic bits to break. No crappy edges. No thin housings that dent easily. This is a good thing. Way to go, Jobs. Now release the Aluminum billet iMac!

You know, I really, really do not like myself when I am overtly rude to a total stranger, but I find myself unable to avoid being overtly rude to you, because there is simply no way that any person who has any insight at all into the differences in cost of different manufacturing processes could believe what you represent yourself as believing. You have absolutely know idea what you are talking about. The part that is the end result of the machining of that billet of aluminum is the equivalent of a part that could otherwise be stamped out on a different sort of machine at a rate of about one per second. The cost of such a machine is probably less than one-tenth the cost of a CNC machine, and the production rate is probably at least ten times greater than the production rate that they are going to get with this process. It is quite simply ludicrous.
post #32 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

More expensive Are you kidding The price has not changed but the quality and the speed has gotten better. That's what it's all about.

I bet you'll find that the cost to make the new frame is not much different than the all of the pieces of the old one. Remember on the old one you have many pieces to make, some which are also machined, and then put them together. With the new way you only have to add the final components onto the plate and I'll bet that's almost completely automated.

This is most likely the process that caused Apple to say that it will reduce their margins, and I believe them here.

Hogging out 2lb of aluminum and a finish pass, drills, tapping on so much geometry has a cost. Milling out 80+ key holes vs. injection molding has an increased cost. No doubt that it saves parts and increases quality, but I am skeptical that it is a nearly even trade on cost.
post #33 of 110
Quote:
kaiser_soze: Yes we get the point, stop posting the same rant over and over.

yeah.

Quote:
kaiser_soze, it's not necessary to write entire sentences or entire paragraphs in full caps. It is the written equivalent of yelling, and doing that while questioning someone else's sanity makes you look like the crazy one. Even if your points are valid, it's hard to ignore the emotional content.

Yup, kaiser go read about internet writing ethics. Sheesh.

Quote:
Dude, Seriously. Go buy a Dell and install Leopard. There are people who will pay these money for such computers. Just like people buy expensive Houses, Cars, Boats and phones. If you don't understand the differences I feel bad for you.

True

Honestly, as some might say what Apple do is bad think about it, Apple is the only one in the market manufacturing their notebooks from a solid block of aluminum and the glass screen will certainly appeal to most public users. We know why we don't like glossy display but the public? They don't really care they prefer to have a good looking piece of notebook.

And when they hear about the new manufacturing process and glass display and proper GPU, they will likely jump and buy a new MB, this will give Apple an advantage, because people are WILLING to pay extra for those qualities and looks.

Oh yea, and what Apple did today will calm down and shut up Apple fanboys and MS fanboys which one party say Apple is now producing cheap quality products and MS fanboys who says that you pay extra for a computer with PC internals.
Apple is a hardware company, dont believe me? Read this Article!. For those who understand my message, help me spread this info to those who dont get it.
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Apple is a hardware company, dont believe me? Read this Article!. For those who understand my message, help me spread this info to those who dont get it.
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post #34 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post

Your the one that doesn't get it. This manufacturing process will likely reduce costs.

Besides, Apple has had no problem increasing market share with the laptops at the price they are and with all the features. Even the PC magazines say they are the best and fastest PCs to run Vista, which is totally ironic, considering they're sold to run MacOS.

Leonard, you are obviously clueless, and as such, you really should not bother to share your naive opinions with other people. Please go find yourself an engineer who has experience and knowledge with cost accounting for fabrication processes. Someone in the aerospace industry would be a good place to look. Talk to some of them, and ask them to explain to you some of the factors that determine the difference in fabrication cost for different processes.

But you don't really have to do that, because it should be apparent to you and to anyone else who has half a brain, that the notebook computers made by manufacturers who have not chosen to apply this process to the production of their notebook computers cost about half what these Apple computers cost.

This simply the most unbelievably stupid decision that Apple could have made. If you don't understand that, it is only because you understand very little.
post #35 of 110
WTB: Mute Button
post #36 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

... Jobs ... has obviously gone insane. ... bad smell ... lost their minds. ... THEY HAVE LOST THEIR MINDS!!! IN ORDER FOR APPLE'S STOCK TO APPRECIATE IN VALUE, IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY T... IMMEDIATELY!

I think it's fairly clear that the one that has "lost their mind," is the one screaming at a bunch of anonymous users on an Internet forum.

You should change your moniker to "Chicken Little."
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #37 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by yvo84 View Post

Kaiser, seriously -- not everyone has bought stocks in Apple. Couple that with the fact that this economic problem is not going to last forever and Apple is going to sell lots of computers no matter how many times you demand Job's resignation and quite frankly, you just come across as annoying.

I'm finally going to update my computer from 2004. Many people are. And for all the money savers out there, you've got the sub-1000 notebook also available. Apple is catering to everyone and also progressing technology forward. Quit with your doomsday talks, just because you've got some Apple stock. If you haven't noticed, all stocks have plummetted. All of them.

What gives you the right to decide who is and who is not annoying? And why should I care whether you or anyone else here cares whether I am annoying? The vast majority of the posts that people make on this and other forums is just noise, having no factual basis or value. Whether the economic problem lasts another week or another year or another decade has nothing to do with anything. You assume way to much. I am talking about a very specific problem, and you have concluded, erroneously and without factual basis or logical reasoning, that my concerns are particularly related to to the present situation with the overal economy and with the decline of Apple stock. That simply is not rational, and if you think otherwise, then you simply have never taught yourself to think. I made no mention of those other concerns, and nothing that I wrote was in any way predicated on the existance of those concerns. The concerns with the production cost of the Apple notebook computers is fully valid on its own merit. Since you evidently have enough money to buy any computer that you like, perhaps you have enough money to go buy yourself a clue. Even if I owned only a single share of Apple stock, that would give me every right to raise awareness on this concern, not matter how much it might annoy you.
post #38 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

The part that is the end result of the machining of that billet of aluminum is the equivalent of a part that could otherwise be stamped out on a different sort of machine at a rate of about one per second.


Part of what you don't seem to be taking into account is that while the old outer casing might have been stamped out at one per second, all of those multiple separate structural parts had to be stamped out as well, probably dealt with in multiple steps and then assembled and attached to each other.

I would be willing to bet that new process is much more efficient on may levels and is probably highly automated.

Again, none of the machined aluminum is wasted.
post #39 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by modz View Post

Kaiser, you'd better take your dollars and your spluttering anger and vote elsewhere - buy a Vaio and start your own blog to rant away in. Time and time again over the years people have questioned Jobs' and Apple's pricing policies - me included - and for the most part - while we're always thinking in terms of our own pockets, Jobs is thinking in terms of long-term customer and shareholder benefit. He's been right and we've been wrong. At this stage, economic turmoil or not, I think he'll most likely be right again.

I'll take my dollars and my anger anywhere I please, thank you very much. What Jobs might have done right and wrong in the past is irrelevant. The facts are this. Notebook computers have fallen in price dramatically over the past several years, and Apple notebooks have not fallen in line. No one with half a brain could deny that this is a problem for Apple's long-term prospects. Yet, instead of finding ways to lower the production cost, they adopted a production method that substantially increased their production costs.
post #40 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinitaBoy View Post

When no one else will listen to a person face-to-face, his last recourse is a site like this. When someone is unsuccessful in almost everything else he does, his last recourse is a site like this. When someone's meds finally fail to achieve the desired results anymore, his last recourse is a site like this.

Eh, kaiser soze? (Interesting nom-de-net, ks: a character from "The Usual Suspects" in which an inveterate liar and criminal manages to pull the wool over everyone's eyes with his dissimulation. Sounds appropriate, given the positions you've taken here. Should we lend credence to one word you've said? Doubtful. Just another fake-out, huh?)

VintaBoy, whereas most of the other people who have challenged my comments here without offering a semblence of intelligent rebuttal, you are merely a jackass.
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