Feasibility of New Solid Aluminum Manufacturing Process?
Businessweek spoke to some experts about the feasibility of the rumors that Apple will be introducing a new manufacturing process and bringing notebook manufacturing in-house.
iSuppli analyst Kevin Keller believes that while short term costs would rise, there could be a savings over time:
"If you're working with one single unit of metal, you're reducing a lot of the materials costs and also a lot of labor time on assembly"
If true, the results could "be unlike anything else on the market in appearance and design" with elimination of screws and seams. Still, it's unclear if Apple could overcome the fact that such a process is quite time-intensive, and scale it enough for laptop production.
As well, the possibility of Apple investing in its own factories to assemble notebooks is seen as a very expensive and risky move and there appears to be no current evidence that Apple has embarked on such a project.
"I'd be shocked if they started doing any of their own assembly," says Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore. "That's the kind of drastic step that would hurt profits. I'm just not sure what the advantages would be."
Meanwhile, CNet's Adam Richardson, an industrial designer, dismisses some of the rumors claiming that Apple has been using both laser and waterjet methods for quite sometime. He reports that the process described by 9to5mac as applied to a notebook-sized device would be much more expensive than traditional manufacturing and feels it's "unlikely that it will literally be a hollowed out block of aluminum".