Production ramp of Apple's next-gen MacBooks creating labor shortages in China

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Anticipated demand for Apple's redesigned line of 2012 MacBooks is reportedly so strong that the company's Far Eastern component suppliers are facing a labor shortage as they race to produce enough parts to supply the Mac maker's production lines.

That's according to Taiwanese rumor publication DigiTimes, which added that the shortages come in the face of preemptive efforts by some of the suppliers to outsource production of their component orders in order to be able to meet the "strong orders from Apple" for the new notebooks, due "in the near future."
"Component manufacturing plants in eastern China have been suffering from labor shortages for a long time, and although May and June are the IT industry's traditional slow season when shortage issues are usually not as significant, the strong orders from Apple's new MacBook are leaving many upstream makers unable to satisfy demand."
Some of these part suppliers began delivering their first wave of components for the company's new MacBooks as early as April, with shipments for the notebooks' new chassis reportedly increasing this month. The supply chain is expected to ramp even faster next month ahead of a 'possible launch' of the computers by Apple in July.

In total, DigiTimes said suppliers expect Apple's total MacBook orders in 2012 to jump from 12.79 million in 2011 to between 16.24 and 19.2 million in 2012 -- a run rate that would see Apple sell an average of over 4 million notebook systems each quarter. By comparison, Apple sold an average of 3.2 million notebook systems per quarter in 2011.

MacBook Lineup
An illustration of Apple's notebook lineup planned for the 2012 calendar year | Source AppleInsider.


No where in its report does the publication indicate whether its sources are referring to updated MacBook Airs or a completely redesigned line of MacBook Pros that have long been reported to adopt similar enclosures and design traits.

However, a quick analysis of the production figures outline in the article suggests the sources are referring to combined production of both new MacBook families, as Apple in January reported total sales of 12.87 million notebook systems during calendar year 2011, which roughly coincides with the 12.79 million production figure.

More details on Apple's plans for its 2012 notebooks can be found in AppleInsider's MacBook Air and MacBook Pro information archives.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    constable odoconstable odo Posts: 1,041member


    I'm sure the analysts are bound to turn this into bad news for Apple.  They'll saw how Apple is suffering from shortages instead of focusing on increased production.  800,000 more MacBooks per quarter is a healthy increase.

  • Reply 2 of 54


    Labor shortages in China? WTF! Yeah, it must be hard to find enough people in China to get things made.

  • Reply 3 of 54
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,198member


    This is Digitimes covering their butts so that when there's no hardware announced at WWDC they can say it was the shortages causing Apple to have to delay the launch. 

  • Reply 4 of 54
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,214member


    I heard they will merge the Air and the Pro into a single line on Macbook's with screen size ranging from 10 to 17 inch. I wonder were those rumors are coming from.  Anyone read something about it?


     


    I hope they new Macbooks's come out soon, I have a buyer for my 15" MBP and he needs it before the end of june.

  • Reply 5 of 54
    foljsfoljs Posts: 314member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    This is Digitimes covering their butts so that when there's no hardware announced at WWDC they can say it was the shortages causing Apple to have to delay the launch. 



     


    And how can you discern this from the case that Digi Times was right all along, i.e Apple did plan to announced at the WWDC and the shortages prevented them?

  • Reply 6 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    DigiTimes.


     


    Why is this still happening?

  • Reply 7 of 54


    Yes they have the worst track record, but the only things they do get right are in this area.  Their rumors and rumor analysis are useless.  Actual facts about labor on the ground is a different data point.  Ignore any numbers and assumptions and assume something big is coming out of China soon.  This would be par for the course with Digi times.  New "data" about old news.  

  • Reply 8 of 54
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 597member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    That's according to Taiwanese rumor publication DigitTimes.


    Hello AI, is that DigitTimes or DigiTimes?  I don't think adding an extra t will make DigiTimes anymore credible.   

  • Reply 9 of 54
    stoobsstoobs Posts: 40member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post


    Hello AI, is that DigitTimes or DigiTimes?  I don't think adding an extra t will make DigiTimes anymore credible.   





    I dunno, as long as it's the middle one, it still fits..image

  • Reply 10 of 54
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    anything that digitimes reports, that is reported by appleinsider, is a almost a neo-godwins law LOL ;. thus the thread is over before it has started ... meaning fiction...
  • Reply 11 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by haar View Post

    …thus the thread is over before it has started…


     


    DigiTimes may lie about everything Apple, but they do seem to own the world's last remaining stock of thiotimoline.

  • Reply 12 of 54
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Labor shortages in China? WTF! Yeah, it must be hard to find enough people in China to get things made.

    Actually, spot labor shortages have been appearing in China for a couple of years. Some companies have been moving out of the denser manufacturing areas in order to find new labor pools. And I hope you don't think that Foxconn has been increasing wages out of the goodness of their heart.

    It's the same thing that happened in Japan 40 years ago. They started out as being a cheap manufacturer due to very low labor rates. As they reached full employment, wages increased and employee benefits improved - to the point that Japan stopped being a low cost manufacturer at some point. No reason to think that the same thing won't eventually happen in China.
  • Reply 13 of 54
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jragosta wrote: »
    Actually, spot labor shortages have been appearing in China for a couple of years. Some companies have been moving out of the denser manufacturing areas in order to find new labor pools. And I hope you don't think that Foxconn has been increasing wages out of the goodness of their heart.
    It's the same thing that happened in Japan 40 years ago. They started out as being a cheap manufacturer due to very low labor rates. As they reached full employment, wages increased and employee benefits improved - to the point that Japan stopped being a low cost manufacturer at some point. No reason to think that the same thing won't eventually happen in China.

    That is the cycle of countless nations. The only difference here is that China is so vast in natural resources, labor and land that they will likely far exceed anything we've ever seen.

    Their GDP is still about half that of the US but I think it's likely only a decade before they are number one. Look at Apple's growth and momentum when they first exceeded MS' i revenue and profit. Long before it happened we knew it would and we knew it was going to move past it quickly once it did.


    PS: Where can I take Mandarin lessons?
  • Reply 14 of 54
    bushman4bushman4 Posts: 797member


    Theres so many people in China looking for work that there's never a labor shortage. It may be that Foxcon needs to hire more people but that comes with increased sales. Too bad that some of those jobs aren't in the U.S.


    Bottom Line: people will get hired.  Wait till production starts ramping up for the Iphone 5, Chinas economy will ramp up also.

  • Reply 15 of 54
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member


    In the early 1950s, I'm told, half the industrial production of the world took place in the nine U.S. states that surround the Great Lakes. Now we refer to that region as our Rust Belt, with Detroit having a city population only half what it had then. That's the bad news.


     


    And yes, it is true, as some have noted, that there's a cycle of rising wages/costs that tend to overprice a country's manufactured goods, allowing other countries to move into the gap. We lost our consumer electronics industry to Japan and Japan has lost theirs to Taiwan and China. But it's also possible for countries to adapt, using automation, a stress on quality, and design/engineering skill to compensate for higher labor costs. That's what Germany has done. It also helps if an industry isn't consumed by internal clashes that create blundering, risk-adverse executives and workers indoctrinated by their unions to whine, complain and demand. In that respect, workers in our southern states seemed to have learned something from the blunders of their counterparts in the Rust Belt north. 


     


    Fortunately, automobile manufacturing is no longer what it was in Henry Ford's day, mindless workers tightening one bolt for eight hours a day. If you've got the sort of skills necessary to work in a modern automated factory, no employer with any sense will treat you badly. He has too much invested in your training. And if you have that sort of power, you don't need union stewards whispering in your ear, trying to justify their existence by making you hate your boss. That's why attempts to unionize southern auto factories are failing.


     


    The U.S. is large enough and diverse enough that failure in one region doesn't mean failure in another. That's the good news. Only time will tell which path China will take.

  • Reply 16 of 54
    realwarderrealwarder Posts: 136member
    Such a pity it's not "Production ramp of Apple's next-gen MacBooks creating labor shortages in Texas". Or similar.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by realwarder View Post

    Such a pity it's not "Production ramp of Apple's next-gen MacBooks creating labor shortages in Texas". Or similar.


     


    Such a pity that people who say this have no idea how this stuff actually works.

  • Reply 18 of 54
    realwarderrealwarder Posts: 136member
    Such a pity that people who say this have no idea how this stuff actually works.

    Such a pity this place is infested with people who have to make personal attacks.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by realwarder View Post

    Such a pity this place is infested with people who have to make personal attacks.


     


    I know, right? Fortunately neither of us stoop to that level.

  • Reply 20 of 54
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    realwarder wrote: »
    Such a pity this place is infested with people who have to make personal attacks.

    How is that a personal attack? Your comment clearly indicates that you don't understand what would be involved in having every single aspect of Apple's products designed and made in the US. In fact, it's impossible without having to reinvent many aspects and using inferior variants at much higher costs due to components and licenses from companies that reside outside the US that would need to be circumvented.

    Then you have the issue of even having a factory whose building and equipment will be built with products from all around the world. But you're not caring about all that, are you? You just want the actual assembly to be in the US without regard for anything else to satisfy your myopic and cliched commentary.
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