Manufacturing January 14, 2014

Back in November, the State of Arizona announced that Apple had chosen the city of Mesa to create a new manufacturing facility and in the process 700 new permanent manufacturing jobs. Some had speculated it could be part of CEO Tim Cook’s plan to bring manufacturing of Macs back to the US (Cook previously stated some parts will come from Arizona), but a supplier later revealed it would be providing equipment for the production of sapphire material at Apple’s new plant. Apple never confirmed what the plant would actually be used for, but we’ve discovered through a new job listing that Apple will indeed use the facility for manufacturing iPhone and iPod components. expand full story

Manufacturing November 13, 2013

Bloomberg claims to have some info on how Apple plans to spend some of the $10.5B it has set aside for capital expenditure over the next year, saying that the investments will span everything from lasers to robots.

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 …  expand full story

Manufacturing November 4, 2013

The State of Arizona today announced that Apple is planning to build a new manufacturing facility in the city of Mesa, Arizona. The facility will create 700 jobs for manufacturing, and an additional 1,300 jobs for the construction and management of the new facility, In total, Apple will be bringing at least 2,000 new jobs to the United States thanks to this new facility.

In addition to the manufacturing facility, Apple will be constructing a new solar power grid in the city to power the manufacturing operations, according to Arizona’s announcement:

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Manufacturing October 29, 2013

Apple has confirmed to The New York Times that a “very limited” number of iPhone 5s units could experience shortened battery life as the result of a manufacturing problem.

“We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5S devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life,” said Teresa Brewer, an Apple spokeswoman. “We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone.”

The exact number of affected units is not clear, but the statement is said to imply that the number is in the few thousands range. Apple sold 9 million iPhones total over its opening weekend. The NYT notes that a manufacturing problem does not equal a defective battery, so it is unclear what the actual source of the issue is.

Affected users can expect to be contacted by Apple soon and will be issued a replacement phone.

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Manufacturing April 12, 2013

Manufacturing April 19, 2012

With all of the controversy and media attention Apple has experienced since The New York Times’  “How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work” article, a post from Motherboard (via iFixit) provides yet another reason why Apple makes its products in China—rare earths. While noting China’s cheap labor and lack of environmental regulations certainly contribute to Apple’s decision, the post explained how Apple’s use of rare earth elements might make it hard to move manufacturing elsewhere:

But there’s another important reason why Apple and other manufacturers have their heels stuck in Chinese mud. iPad manufacturing, like the manufacturing of other electronics, requires a significant amount of rare earth elements, the 17 difficult-to-mine elements used in all kinds of green technology. It’s hard to say exactly what rare earths are in an iPad, since Apple is really tight-lipped about their materials

iFixit ‘s Elizabeth Chamberlain spoke with Cambridge engineering professor Dr. Tim Coombs who “guesses that there may be lanthanum in the iPad’s lithium-ion polymer battery, as well as ‘a range of rare earths to produce the different colours’ in the display.” He also thinks the magnets in Smart Covers and the iPad itself contain neodymium alloy. So how does rare earths keep Apple tied to China? The report explained: expand full story

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