Apple Driving Supply Chain Capacity with $10.5 Billion Investment in Advanced Technologies

Back in October, Apple filed its 2013 10-K annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, offering some insight into how the company has grown over the past year. A section within the filing revealed that the company is investing a record $10.5 billion on advanced supply chain technology, and a new report from Bloomberg has offered a look at what Apple typically does with those expenditures.

Apple's investment will reportedly include the purchase of new machinery such as assembly robots and milling stations to place in the factories of its suppliers, which would help with the mass production of iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and more from the company's line of products, as Apple looks to seek advantages over the production tools in the factories of its rivals.

foxconn_workers_2

To get a jump on rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. and lay the groundwork for new products, Apple is spending more on the machines that do the behind-the-scenes work of mass producing iPhones, iPads and other gadgets. That includes equipment to polish the new iPhone 5c’s colorful plastic, laser and milling machines to carve the MacBook’s aluminum body, and testing gear for the iPhone and iPad camera lens, said people with knowledge of the company’s manufacturing methods, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.

Apple has been seeking to expand its production efforts in numerous ways recently, as a report surfaced earlier this week that Apple and Samsung were looking to use an upstate New York factory belonging to semiconductor company GlobalFoundries to produce Apple's A-series chips. Apple has also struck a deal with GT Advanced to produce sapphire glass for its products, with Apple investing significant upfront money in facilities and advanced technologies to advance the process

Apple engineers often spend weeks at facilities in Asia making sure the parts and equipment they buy or make are working properly, people familiar with the work said. The company has hired robotics experts and its website has several job openings for engineers who can operate high-end manufacturing equipment. [...]

Apple’s approach contrasts with other technology companies, which typically partner with contract manufacturers to handle much of the engineering work involved in getting a product made in large numbers, said Cormac Eubanks, product development director at industrial design firm Frog Design.

A push to expand its production technology and increase efficiency within the factories of its suppliers comes as Apple looks toward a busy next year with high demand for existing products such as the Retina iPad mini, as well as new product categories on the horizon.

A previous analysis of Apple's 2013 10-K annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed other interesting developments about the company's growth over the past year, including the growth of Apple's employee headcount and retail store count, along with the increased advertising expenses and real estate holdings. Apple's annual report usually contains a number of details about the company's operations, much of it targeted at investors and regulators, and addresses such topics as executive compensation, company investments, taxes, and more.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
91 months ago

I'll take $10billion in robots supported by high tech staff in the US over an army of underpaid workers in a country that could care less if they strive in life.

So you are saying you'd rather those "underpaid workers", which is paid well in their standard anyway, lose their only jobs than have a chance to strive in life? Sometimes I just feel the logic of the westerners so naive...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
91 months ago

Change hurts. But no country will change until their people make them change. As long as they can herd their people into "good enough" wages, they won't improve. I'm not being callous or cavalier, it's just reality.


If any country on Earth has wage growth it is China. The typical Chinese worker is happy to work any number of hours and save every prey. China has the highest savings rate in the world. Yes they make low wages but they save a higher percent of their pay. Every one of them is thinking about getting their kids into the best university even if that will realistically never happen.

The real problem is here in the US. For most people there has been a decline in wages. The median income has slipped downward. It's not an overall declide in the economy but an uneven distribution.

Historically uneven wealth distribution has been the cause of most social unrest, revolutions and what not.

If you look at distribution as measured by Gini coefficient using data from the CIA World Fact Book the US is fourth from the bottom amount developed counties with only Chile, Mexico and Turkey being worse. Top of the list is mostly the Northern European countries. The US is already one of the most divided counties with masses of poor people with no hope and the 1% controlling most of the wealth.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
91 months ago
Is there any surprise that Tim Cook is concentrating on Supply Chain issues? That is his strength.

On another note, more robots probably mean fewer people to take photos of products and post them to Gawker...or MacRumors :D
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Pro Demand Higher Than Expected

Sunday October 18, 2020 10:39 pm PDT by
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note this morning detailing what he's seen with the volume of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders in the first weekend of sales. Kuo had previously indicated that Apple's estimated shipment allocations for the new iPhone models placed the iPhone 12 at the top with 40-45% of inventory allocation (up from 15-20%). However, ...

Apple's New MagSafe Charger and Cases Begin Arriving to Customers

Saturday October 17, 2020 10:10 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe charger and cases have begun arriving to some customers earlier than expected, and images of the accessories have started to surface on Twitter. The photos provide a first look at the products in real-world use. As of writing, some MagSafe cases are also available for pickup at select Apple Stores in countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany. Filip...

HomePod Mini Cable is Non-Detachable, Ends With USB-C Connector for Use With Included 20W Power Adapter

Friday October 16, 2020 12:45 pm PDT by
While not detailed in the tech specs, MacRumors can confirm that Apple's new HomePod mini features a non-detachable power cable that ends with a USB-C connector for use with the 20W power adapter included in the box. With the switch to USB-C, the HomePod mini could potentially be powered by a wider range of devices and peripherals, ranging from MacBooks to USB-C battery packs with enough...

Samsung Mocks Apple for Ditching Power Adapters With iPhone 12 Lineup

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Samsung on its social channels is mocking Apple for removing the power adapter from the iPhone 12 lineup and other iPhone models, pointing out the fact that the Samsung Galaxy smartphones continue to ship with a power adapter. "Included with your Galaxy," reads a Samsung Facebook post that features a picture of a power adapter. Apple notably is no longer providing power adapters or...

New Google App Feature Lets You Hum a Song to Search for It

Saturday October 17, 2020 4:05 am PDT by
Google has added a new feature to its Search app that allows you to hum a song that's stuck in your head, and then use the company's machine learning algorithm to try and identify it. In the Google app or using the Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say "what's this song?" or click the "Search a song" button. Then start humming the tune for 10-15 seconds. When you're done, the...

Brazilian Certifications Suggest iPhone 12 Mini Features 2,227mAh Battery and iPhone 12 Has 2,815mAh Battery

Friday October 16, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone mini has the shortest battery life out of all the iPhones in the iPhone 12 lineup due to its small size, but Apple has not provided public information about the battery's capacity. A regulatory filing from Brazil, however, suggests the iPhone 12 mini has a battery capacity of 2,227mAh. The same regulatory information says the iPhone 12 features a 2,815mAh battery, which is...

iPhone 12 Pro Pre-Orders Already Selling Out With Delivery Times Pushing Into November

Friday October 16, 2020 6:35 am PDT by
Apple today opened pre-orders for the 6.1-inch models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro through its website and the Apple Store app, and estimated delivery times are already slipping into November for select configurations in the United States. Customers ordering a SIM-free/Pacific Blue/128GB version of the iPhone 12 Pro, for example, are already facing an estimated delivery window of...

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12

Monday October 19, 2020 11:54 am PDT by
Alongside the new iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a MagSafe charger that attaches to the back of the iPhones using magnets embedded both in the charger and in the iPhone. It allows for speedier charging and paves the way for a portless iPhone in the future. MagSafe chargers are shipping out and are in some Apple retail locations now, and we picked one up to check it out. Subscribe to the ...

Apple Offering Free AirPods With iPhone 11 Purchase in India as Part of Diwali Celebration

Friday October 16, 2020 12:35 pm PDT by
Apple today launched a new Diwali promotion in India that will see the company providing customers with a set of AirPods with the purchase of any iPhone 11 model. The new iPhone 12 models are not part of the promotion. Apple is offering the standard AirPods With Charging Case free with purchase, but customers can choose to upgrade to the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case or the AirPods Pro....