Originally Posted by Messiah
In reality, in business you have to actively continue to reduce your cost base. As a result, the hardware will always contain components supplied by the lowest bidder.
If you're opening up 'identical' Apple machines on a daily basis, you start to notice patterns. The surface mounted chips on the system board are pretty much set in stone, but you'll find that the manufacturers of the attached OEM components will vary. That means that when you open up a Mac, you'll never be quite sure who manufactured the power supply, hard disk, optical drive, LCD or RAM. Even the manufacturers of the keyboard and mouse mechanisms will vary over time.
Buy two machines off the shelf at your local PC World and there's a good chance that when you get back to the office you'll find that they are similar but not identical. Perhaps they will have different optical drives installed or different memory or hard drives.
Now in theory, this is a smart business practice, because all things being equal, it allows Apple to capitalise on the components that offer best instantaneous value for money. In practice, you'll find that there is a motivation for the OEM manufacturers supplying Apple with components to remain the cheapest, and if that means cutting corners then so be it. In the real world, all things aren't equal.
The recent launch of the new unibody MacBook demonstrated this perfectly. Apple used a number of suppliers for the MacBooks LCD panels, and the quality varied across the board. As a result, securing a MacBook with a better quality screen became a bit of a lottery.
When I was working as an Apple hardware tech, we started to notice patterns the revisions of particular hard disks that would cause problems or the optical drives that failed prematurely.
As a result, it is impossible to predict a particular models reliability over time, as the bill of internal components will continue to be a lottery. Any experienced hardware tech will tell you that you simply can't predict a machines reliability based purely on when it was manufactured there are too many variables.
Have you ever been in business? Because I have had two businesses over a period of 35 years.
I will tell you that a business doesn't not always go for the lowest bidder, and even when they do, it's often not for the reasons you think it is. That's a completely incorrect misunderstanding of the way it works.
In my electronics manufacturing business, where we made professional audio equipment, we NEVER looked to get parts from a lowest bidder, unless that was a distributer of particular parts, as we were bidding out to the suppliers, not the manufacturers of the parts.
We were designing, and building high quality products, and NEVER used cheap parts. I don't know of any company that is looking to build a quality product that does that.
Apple is known in the industry to pay a bit more for parts that Dell and some other companies. That's one reason why, when a few years ago, some computer companies had the caps on the mobo go bad, but Apple's didn't, even though their machines were made by the same company, and used the same value parts.
Apple, as do many other manufacturers, has shortages of certain parts from a particular manufacturer from time to time, and so switches. And yes, sometimes, two competitive manufacturers are vying for Apple's business, and will offer a better price on a part. That has nothing to do with the quality.
Sometimes even the best manufacturers have bad runs of parts. It happens!
Companies that have low margins on cheap machines will bottom trawl because they have no choice.