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Apple details new MacBook manufacturing process - Page 3

post #81 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

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.


How is the race to the bottom of the pile working out for the market valuations of Dell and HP? How about their profits?

Are you confusing technical expertise with punditry? Are profitable car makers all racing to compete in the low profit, high volume market? How successful has that been?

Apple is pulling in nearly 20% of the retail market and crabbing almost a third of the dollars in the retail laptop market. Do you think it would be wise to throw that success away (profits and leadership in growth among PCs and laptops) in order to flood the market with the $600 laptops that are killing Dell?

I could understand your position better if you were complaining from the perspective of a cheapskate consumer who expected a $700 Mac laptop, but as a SHAREHOLDER, your shoe banging is astounding.
post #82 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by YTV View Post

I would assume in China, but who knows. There's probably 30 shops within 15 miles of my house that could do this, but I am sure China is most likely the cheapest option.

Assumption I can do on my own. Thank you.
post #83 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

My buying a Dell and installing Leopard is not going to have any impact on what it costs Apple to make their notebook computers.

The new process will not pay off in years to come. The process has a high per-unit manufacturing cost, due to the high cost of the machines and the time that each machine spends producing one unit. Those costs will likely come down by some amount over time, but this technology has been around for several decades, and there is not going to be any drastic reduction in per-unit cost at any time.

since it has been around for years, do you know how much it would cost more when compared with the traditional way of making laptop body? i don't need the exact number, but at least percentage point wise.

further, we also need to know the cost saved by this unibody design in term of less overhead in production and less interdependency existed when multiple part vendors have to be coordinated.

then we might be able to try to extrapolate how much more apple has to eat up for their new product line.
post #84 of 110
Wow! I'm glad I came to this thread late, after the lunatic was banned. Seriously, some basic arithmetic skills might help. Possibly this technique is a little more expensive and time-consuming, maybe it will reduce Apple's margins a little (as we were all warned about weeks ago) but it's only one part! Even if the new frame costs $50 where a stamped frame would cost 50 cents, that's a very small proportion of the cost of a $1300 laptop.

If you stamp several pieces out of sheet aluminum, they have to be assembled by trained human labor. Some of them won't fit. Some of them will be made to fit anyway: a failure waiting to happen.

In portable equipment, flexing and breaking of circuit-board traces is always the primary failure point. (I personally think it's time for PCBs to go away, but one revolution at a time!) People long ago gave up floating ports connected to the circuit board by wires in favor of simply putting the ports on the edges of the circuit board. Then you've got the problem of whether to clamp the PCB in so tight that differential expansion and contraction due to temperature changes and every little flex in the case can bend and break a trace, or do you let it move around enough to avoid that and have vibration do it instead?

My impression has been that a lot of Apple's reliability problems have been caused by choosing plan A above. But what if you clamp in the circuit board so it can't wiggle around and make the case so rigid that it doesn't flex? I think this will reduce returns, warranty work, refurbishing failed units and then selling them cheaper...in other words, save a lot of money.

Perhaps even more importantly the impression of quality is going to be unique. I haven't held a new MacBook in my hands yet, but when I do, what do you want to bet it'll feel like a single block of aluminum? Sure, I can get a laptop cheaper that feels like it's going to fall apart in my hands, but some people will buy quality they can feel.

Anyway, this is a strategy that Apple has chosen: maybe it'll pay off, maybe it won't, but I think it's a little early to call it insane.
post #85 of 110
It's unfortunate that some vocal ranters ("whiners") only seem to look at Apple as the quick-buck opportunity instead of a long-term investor. Too many people only look towards the next quarter instead of the next several years. What a shame.

I do own AAPL shares and as an investor and on-the-side-monkey-wrench, I'm very happy and impressed with the notebook improvements they made which also includes the switch to the aluminum fabrication methods. It shows to me that they want real value in their products and they want them to last. I for one am tired of the flimsy plastic enclosures of all my previous laptops. I abuse my laptops physically due to my extreme business mobility and I know many will welcome this change.

I'm not sure how much Apple has invested in this new fabrication method but I believe it will only get cheaper over the long run as mass production kicks in. People here seem to forget that they get what they pay for. Want a cheap laptop that will last a couple years if your lucky? Go to Dell, Sony, whatever. Want more durability and longevity, buy Apple. If this makes their product more durable, the money saved in other areas such as defects, returns, service-costs due to the use of flimsy materials will hopefully offset the aluminum use. But of course, certain vocal people experiencing tunnel-vision do not look at the bigger picture when they are so high up on their soapbox.

Apple has been hugely successful by not bending-over to whiners. They do what they feel puts them ahead in the market and even when they constantly make those huge gains against the opinions of the "experts", there are still people with nothing better to do than to stand on their soapbox and scream that it's not good enough.

All this ranting just has me thinking whether you're doing it to short-sell Apple or you're just a typical day-trader who could care less about what a quality company does and more of just an excuse to continue your "Wall Street Casino" lifestyle. You're just a typical gambler, not an investor. There is a difference. If you don't believe in what they do as a company, sell your stock now and don't look back. Just walk away.
post #86 of 110
The move to this process has Jobs' fingerprints all over it - not just on the new, glossy surfaces, but under the hood as well.

This is the man who ordered the original Mac motherboard to be redesigned on aesthetic grounds.

He also appears to have a thing for factories. He lauded new facilities for the mac, and for the NextCube, as cathedrals that would turn sand into computers.

Whilst most designers would see manufacturing processes as a means to an end of delivering functional and aesthetic requirements, he appears to hold to a single design aesthetic that runs through materials and processes to the finished product and its application.

This is appealing, but also rather ideological, and whereas it makes for some stunning products, it also makes for some stupidly over-engineered ones that come in at higher costs than the market is wiling to bear - failed products. One example: because Jobs insisted the NextCube be a perfect cube, there were huge problems in getting the cases to pop out of their moulds. Remember the round mouse? The Cube that was a really cool design, but too expensive? The fantastic, neglected Mini?

I hope the new laptops aren't the latest example of this, partly because I need one soon, regardless of what's on offer.

I am no engineer, but while I didn't care for Kaiser Soze's tone, I will say that I've seen posts elsewhere (i.e. Arstechnica) from process engineers, before the unveiling, that said the rumors about this new process were laughable - utterly, ridiculously, out-there, idiotic, defying all engineering logic... the vehemence was very similar to his sentiments, if not necessarily the tone. Evidently, this is really an unusual of making laptops, and it remains to be seen if it will make sense in the end for either Apple or users. I hope it does.
post #87 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.

There are words to adequately convey your views, but you have not attempted to use them. Instead of ranting, why not produce evidence showing that milling from a solid block is more expensive both now and likely to be in the future. If this is a relatively new manufacturing process which is being continually developed to lower costs ultimately, then this may be a case of Apple "skating to where the puck is going to be". Also, this might explain Tim Cook's guidance about lower margins.

Informed comment is always more interesting.

John
post #88 of 110
The weakest part of the aluminum Powerbook G4s and MacBook Pros is the DVD slot. They cut a 5 inch long slit into the bottom case. Above the slit is a thin band of metal. When one of these laptops is dropped, the impact often causes the DVD slot to become deformed. Even putting normal pressure on the palm rest causes the slot to eventually collapse, making it impossible to insert or eject a CD. Look at several aluminum Powerbook G4s and MacBook Pros. See if the top part of DVD slot is straight, or if it is bowed downwards.

Replacing this type of damage often requires completely taking the laptop apart, removing all internal components, replacing the entire bottom case, then putting the entire laptop back together. This is both time consuming and expensive.

It looks like the DVD slot in the new MacBook and MacBook Pro still uses the same design, where a narrow slit is cut into the case. Because of this, we may continue to see the same problem with damage to the DVD slot. This problem could be avoided if the laptop had an opening for the entire DVD drive, rather than just a narrow slit cut into the case. If Apple made the entire DVD drive easily slide out, any damage to the DVD slot can be fixed by just replacing the DVD drive instead of having to take the entire laptop apart and replace the entire case. Another advantage of having the DVD drive easily slide out is that people who don't want the DVD drive would be able to replace it with either a second battery or a second hard drive.
post #89 of 110
My guess is that kaiser_soze has a) lost his shirt on the market, including APPL, and b) he has not read that in the third quarter of this year Mac sales have grown at 6 times the industry average.

Too many people -simplistically- believe that the a supremely cheap PRICE at the outset results in the cheapest medium and long term VALUE.

My daughter is using - very successfully - my 7 year old TiBook with the latest and best OS there is -Leopard- at university. No other cheapskate manufacturer can deliver THAT kind of value.

As it happens, it looks remarkable similar to the latest MacBook with the black keyboard, so no doubt many will think she's bang up to date with a new Mac!

kaiser_soze, you are not alone knowing the PRICE of everything and the VALUE of nothing.

Amen.
post #90 of 110
Awwww! \ They banned kaiser_soze before I could respond! I guess I won't get to post a repeating rant with spelling errors, overuse of caps, namecalling, and complaining about things which I have to inside information, experience, or knowledge!

Maybe after the next announcement.

I will admit that this process could have some higher costs associated with it, but I see many benefits. Margins might be lowered in the short term, but this kind of capability allows Apple to be more flexible in adjustments, tweaks, design changes, and product improments.

Machining each housing means lower tooling costs in the long run. I think these MacBooks will be the strongest, most solid-feeling notebooks on the market for at least a year. Plastic blows and nothing says quality like a solid piece of metal.

I think the MacBook form factor is rather ideal. The slim design Apple has used since the 2001 Titanium notebooks is still a joy to hold and use. I won't pass judgement until I handle one in person, but I think that this is a big step in producing better notebooks than anyone else. Price isn't everything and we all know Apple isn't going for the low-end market and likely never will.
post #91 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

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.
....... 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.

hmmmm, are we an MS troll or just someone that does not get it.????/

Yes, at startup this method may cost more. But the more you do it, the cheaper it can get. ALSO... for those with NO HEAD for business. These things are bring built in China........... You know, where labor cost nothing..... :-)

And yes the machines are costly. But Apple does not pay for that.. Over there, I am sure the Chinese govt pays for it so they can get more business. I am sure Apple got a good price.

And as far as advertising, Apple can now state that they use Military quality mfging to make their product, not cheap paste and squeeze plastic. Have you seen one of these cheap laptops. Don't wiggle them, they will fall apart and I am sure that their lifetime is pretty short -- 1-3 years MAX.

Brains on people. This is Apple, maker of iTunes, iPhone, iPod, and Mac OSX. Lets give them the benefit of the doubt at least for the next 6-9 months, shall we.

For my, I am getting more Apple stock while its at a fire sale price. See you at $200..... :-)
post #92 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post

Wow! I'm glad I came to this thread late,.....Perhaps even more importantly the impression of quality is going to be unique. I haven't held a new MacBook in my hands yet, but when I do, what do you want to bet it'll feel like a single block of aluminum? Sure, I can get a laptop cheaper that feels like it's going to fall apart in my hands, but some people will buy quality they can feel.

Anyway, this is a strategy that Apple has chosen: maybe it'll pay off, maybe it won't, but I think it's a little early to call it insane.

Just a thought. Have you handled one of those cheap plastic laptops lately. They are flimsy as all get out. They have big holes in the bottom for air flow (and water and spilled milk, ets).

I have to wonder if making the case so strong will lead to the repairable laptop???? You know, its real easy to swap motherboard, or fans, or keyboard. So soon, instead of buying a new laptop, you could just swap out the motherboard, easy, one step. UPgraded computer...... If we do not see connector changes for some time, then this becomes a very viable choice.

ALSO, as you said, stiffer means less pc board failures, less repair cost, etc. I know I have had several Apple computers with motherboards being swaped out. Just how expensive is that to Apple, vs no repairs. ???

Just a thought.
en
post #93 of 110
Well I had a nice post, but it's gone now...that sucks.

I like the new process, adds a bit of elegance to the line. I'm not sure what the difference is between milling vs acquiring and assembling various parts, but I'm sure that the initial cost of production will be higher, but will be reduced once efficiencies and economies of scale are realized.

Analysts are frequently wrong on Apple products, insisting for years that Apple needs to compete on price regardless of the economic environment. Saying that due to a recession that Apple needs an $800 notebook is just another way of clamoring for the same thing. As someone else said, you can start high and lower your price, it is difficult to start low and raise it.

To me Apple's business model is to provide bang for your buck, or quality value for your dollar, rather than lowest products at lesser quality. Folks like Kaiser don't seem to get that.
post #94 of 110
The one thing that this milling process will allow, is for a stronger, thinner device to be built. Imagine a device as thin as the iPhone with a 10" screen. And thus, a true slate computer is born. I can't see any other manufacturing process allowing for an ultra thin design, without being flimsy. I believe this process will give Apple an advantage in producing these types of devices.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #95 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

The one thing that this milling process will allow, is for a stronger, thinner device to be built. Imagine a device as thin as the iPhone with a 10" screen. And thus, a true slate computer is born. I can't see any other manufacturing process allowing for an ultra thin design, without being flimsy. I believe this process will give Apple an advantage in producing these types of devices.

What if they made it out of the same metal that the dood from Terminator 2 was made of, where you could punch a hole through his head and it would go back together?
post #96 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by YTV View Post

What if they made it out of the same metal that the dood from Terminator 2 was made of, where you could punch a hole through his head and it would go back together?

That would be cool, as long as it wasn't as nasty and tried to kill me every time I powered it down!
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #97 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

The one thing that this milling process will allow, is for a stronger, thinner device to be built. Imagine a device as thin as the iPhone with a 10" screen. And thus, a true slate computer is born. I can't see any other manufacturing process allowing for an ultra thin design, without being flimsy. I believe this process will give Apple an advantage in producing these types of devices.


I agree and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on one. Here's a thought, could we see this process rolled into desktop macs or it is only useful for the needs for a notebook computer?
post #98 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boondox View Post

I agree and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on one. Here's a thought, could we see this process rolled into desktop macs or it is only useful for the needs for a notebook computer?

I would think this process could be used to build desktop systems, however it really only makes sense to use it when designing thin products that are meant to be handled, carried and abused and need as much extra strength as possible and need to be light-weight as well.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #99 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

If you don't like the way they build computers, don't buy them. If you don't like the way they run the company, don't by stock.

I thought a company answers to its shareholders, not the other way around. If Apple doesn't like answering to their shareholders, then they should buy back all their stock and become a privately held company.
post #100 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

I thought a company answers to its shareholders, not the other way around. If Apple doesn't like answering to their shareholders, then they should buy back all their stock and become a privately held company.

Only if you hold a controlling portion of shares. Which generally means you have to be a multi-millionaire not a multi-thousandaire
post #101 of 110
Adding up all of the assembly costs, the new manufacturing process is and will be cheaper the current one. It will also further cut down on failures, also cost component. Last, all of the aluminum during manufacture is recycled, and that cost recovered.

This is a bold move, but very well thought out by some very smart people.

On the market:

Oil is less then $80; gas, diesel, & home heating oil is cheaper.
Dollar is stronger.
This will help with discretionary spending.
Liquidity is finally being injected in the market.
Election season will be over (finally)- markets will rally, and the media with have to go fish.
All of this will factor in positively for the economy, and positive for this holiday season for Apple.
post #102 of 110
I am actually quite surprised that while everybody has been talking about how good/bad Apple's latest products have been, nobody seems to talk about the new direction that Apple has been steering towards, which is that of corporate responsibility. With the introduction of the highly-recyclable aluminum casing, they have reached another milestone.

In an age where despite the technological advance we have been backwards with how we approach the environment, maybe even people(?), and in a time when companies have only considered their own gains where quite frankly, the greed of a few has now led to the downfall of many, we should applaud Apple's approach. Why? Because it has unveiled another new way to do business. That everybody, including customers and staff, right up to the environment (our most important asset) can benefit. Fewer parts means fewer problems, fewer product defects and shipped parts, faster assembly builds, stronger product build quality, and lower production costs - all of which means fewer recalls and less wastage. I suppose this adds another layer to the multi-skilled and multi-facet-coloured company that we call Apple (remember the old logo anyone?) and why I love Apple so much. They really do think different from the norm.

I guess in such turbulent times, there never has been a more important time to reveal such a simple yet great idea. Yes the product may be a little more expensive - but this is a small trade-off compared to the greatest one if we do not act now. The other night I was just watching on TV how, if we do not act now to curb our carbons emissions, how the icecaps of the Arctic and Antarctic would melt and the sea-levels rise - up to between 20 to 150 ft(!) should the Arctic melt first, then Antarctic - within the next 50-100 years. Current scientific measurements have shown the Arctic icecaps have been losing about 8 sq. miles of ice every year (minimum) and this same phenomenon is now spreading to Antarctica, where because of the changes in temperature, warm surface water enters the cracks between the ice from the top, flows down to gather underneath the caps, causing large parts of the ice shelf to break off. Our sea levels have already warmed a degree - and each degree of warmth adds about another foot of water to our coastlines. It doesn't go to say how important Apple's contribution is as a producer of millions of laptops when it comes to protecting the environment....and us.

Never has there been a time where we all have to think different in order to survive. I am not a Apple shareholder, but I applaud them for what they've done. Time to buy AAPL stocks perhaps?
post #103 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

The weakest part of the aluminum Powerbook G4s and MacBook Pros is the DVD slot. They cut a 5 inch long slit into the bottom case. Above the slit is a thin band of metal. When one of these laptops is dropped, the impact often causes the DVD slot to become deformed. Even putting normal pressure on the palm rest causes the slot to eventually collapse, making it impossible to insert or eject a CD. Look at several aluminum Powerbook G4s and MacBook Pros. See if the top part of DVD slot is straight, or if it is bowed downwards.

Replacing this type of damage often requires completely taking the laptop apart, removing all internal components, replacing the entire bottom case, then putting the entire laptop back together. This is both time consuming and expensive.

It looks like the DVD slot in the new MacBook and MacBook Pro still uses the same design, where a narrow slit is cut into the case. Because of this, we may continue to see the same problem with damage to the DVD slot. This problem could be avoided if the laptop had an opening for the entire DVD drive, rather than just a narrow slit cut into the case. If Apple made the entire DVD drive easily slide out, any damage to the DVD slot can be fixed by just replacing the DVD drive instead of having to take the entire laptop apart and replace the entire case. Another advantage of having the DVD drive easily slide out is that people who don't want the DVD drive would be able to replace it with either a second battery or a second hard drive.

i think you do have a valid concern. specially if the slit is warped after dropping. but do we know the failure rate in the past, such as broken DVD slit? further if DVD slit is broken, what percentage has to replace the whole housing instead of just a partial rim? by the way, the strength of the case might be much stronger than the previous model, so hopefully it can sustain the impact better.
post #104 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Middleman View Post

I am actually quite surprised that while everybody has been talking about how good/bad Apple's latest products have been, nobody seems to talk about the new direction that Apple has been steering towards, which is that of corporate responsibility. With the introduction of the highly-recyclable aluminum casing, they have reached another milestone.

This is a good point, one not discussed much here but I suspect will be in other places.


How about this...the new product uses less plastic, more aluminum and more glass.
post #105 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boondox View Post

This is a good point, one not discussed much here but I suspect will be in other places.


How about this...the new product uses less plastic, more aluminum and more glass.

Well Boondox...

I've just come off this site > http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/2208/24/ and they've been talking about the recyclability of the Mac. It seems that this is the best and most environmentally friendly Mac, despite the initial thoughts of the author.

Reading the discussion thread there (which is really really interesting) I found the following facts:

1) High-grade aluminum is easier to recycle than plastic. According to an expert there (who used to recycle aluminum and melt it in a furnace) recycling pure aluminum is the easiest method.

2) If extracted raw from bauxite, aluminum is energy-wasteful (some 95%). However recycling left-over aluminum uses much much less energy than the extraction stage, and its practically the same high quality (which someone has said, Apple will re-use).

3) Because it is a highly thermal conducting material, it will dissipate heat better than plastic, resulting in a cooler machine during operation.

4) Die-casting an alloy of aluminum is harder to recycle than pure aluminum, which is used in the new Macbook.


If we are talking about the recyclability of the product, I read someone mentioned to look at how green a product should be we have to look at the ENTIRE LIFE of the product taking into account not just its ability to be recycled, but also general usage. We have to look at the overall usage/wastage/CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the product - basically the cradle-to-cradle lifespan including its ability to protect the components and the durability/repairability of the product. ie. what I said earlier.

Whereas we've been assuming that plastic is supposed to be more 'environmentally friendlier' we've been told actually it is far worse to make and to recycle. Reason is plastic has a limited recycle life. After 7 times it cannot be recycled due to grade/quality issues, meaning it has to be thrown away! Also to make plastic requires heat and additional chemicals (which aluminum doesn't). And if you are recycling plastic, there are difficulties in the recycling process if there are glues and adhesives involved (according to a recycling expert).

Another interesting point (which most people may find astonishing) is drilling and lasering uses much less energy (apparently) than smelting plastic. These can be powered by renewable electrical sources, whereas plastic would need heat. And according to one poster, Apple said it will produce 360kg of CO2 over its lifespan, half of which (40%) is said to occur at the manufacturing stage. How on earth they got this figure I don't know, but its safe to assume those clever folks over at Apple have done a lot of homework.

Overall for being eco-friendly I think this is a step in the right direction. My only concern out of all this is how strong that screen is gonna be over time. How strong will that new glass screen be to daily use compared to the old Macbook especially if most of us will be travelling around with it? Is it gonna be as tough as the iPhone screen?
post #106 of 110
Hi,

I am an engineer working in Aluminium Industry.

The unibody is not that expensive.... or state of art.

Material cost Aluminium : $2.5 LME/Kg + $1.5 /Kg premium for extruded products using virgin aluminium billets.
This translates into $4/Kg of which about 85% of the scrap can be recovered for use casting billets.
So the material cost for using aluminium would be about $2 per mac.

CNC, laser cutting, water jetting, through described by Apple as cutting edge is quite common in China & Rest of the World(US, UK, Germany, India, etc).
The technology is used by many small scale industries in China. Machines to do this are not very expensive. A laser cutting machine able to cut through 40mm thick Steel plate costs about a $ 1 million, CNC milling is available for about $ 0.5 million. These machines are quick with steel & Will be able to do a lot BETTER with low density Aluminium (Al density=2800 Kg/meter3 v/s Steel density= 8000 Kg/meter3)

For Quantities @4 million in 2008, the no of machines required will not be high).

The cost of machining the brick may be about @28 per mac including shipping.

The other cost could be Product Design which may have run into millions, but is very little per mac @ $5.

Thus cost of Production in China (not in Germany, US, UK) is @ $35 per Laptop & with bragging rights & Brand Differentiation.

the advantage of using aluminium is that in a machine that produces heat, as a heat sink (Perhaps the biggest heat sink in any laptop ever seen). But use in the sun could be detrimental.)

Apple can do that because it realeases few models Vs others.
post #107 of 110
It is for laptops Maverick. The way it is done is cutting edge for laptop computers. That is what we are talking about here, not the whole of metal fabrication.
post #108 of 110
Yes. That's the point.

No big deal about the process as apple claims.
post #109 of 110
...and thankfully missed Kaiser's ranting.

When I read Seth Weintraub's rumor about the "brick" at 9to5Mac, I called it ludicrous. Of course, what Seth described is ludicrous. That's probably due to the fact that he didn't know what he was talking about and so got the details wrong when explaining it.

Typically, a new process, saves costs. I doubt that this process will save costs, so Apple has to justify the new process' value in another way. That way is in improved feel. This is related to customer perception of quality, and has overall brand value.

I love the new laptops and will buy a 13" MB. I have been waiting to replace my 5+ yr old 12" AluPB. I was going to get a MBA, but the new 13" MB is a better choice for me.

Seth described something out of StarWars and we got conventional CNC milling. Apple is NOT buying CNC machine tools. FoxConn is buying CNC machine tools. As many note, Apple can save on assembly, on repair work, etc. Still CNC milling takes time. So does 56 screws for just the keyboard install!

Anyway, the point I want to address is cost. Oppenheimer stated that Gross Margins would drop something like 2% or 3% next year due to this product transition. Well, if we take $30B as Apple's sales next year, a drop of 2 to 3% in GMs means an increase in mfring costs of $600M to $900M.

If you are generous and say that laptop sales increase from around 6M to around 10M in 2009, that would mean an incremental cost of about $60 to $90 per laptop. That's ALOT, but Steve thinks it's justifiable as a way to differentiate Apple products. I'm a shareholder, with 2000 shs, and while I don't like dropping margins, I think Steve is making a good bet. Alot of Apple's mystique is generated by the notion that Apple is uncompromising on technical innovations, whether they be software or hardware. I like the quality of the new Macbook. It reminds me of a finely crafted Swiss watch.
post #110 of 110
Well, tomorrow is my birthday and I decided to get me a new computer.

I'm a creative director and I use my lap top all the time, so I was thinking, why not a little update.

Well, it would be perfect but, YOU CAN'T USE IT LYING DOWN...

Yes, seriously it is not a joke!

The new LED screen is heavy... Ok it looks good, and works perfectly on top of the table... but if you are used to work lying down on bed, or on the sofa... FORGET IT! It will close on you.

I was surprised with this since I always considered Apple's engineering amazing, so for people with some sort of disability or for people who just like to relax during work, this laptop simple does not work.

I'm voting for a recall
!!!!!
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