Made in USA Mac Stories October 23, 2013

Analysis of new Mac Pro video shows how it’s assembled in the US

Yesterday during Apple’s iPad Air event, the company officially announced pricing and availability for the next-generation Mac Pro with the completely redesigned high-end Mac shipping in December starting at $2999. Since the new Mac Pro will be one of the first devices assembled in the US under Apple’s new initiative to bring manufacturing of some of its Macs back home, the company also ran a short video showing off the assembly process of the machine.

Today, industrial designer Greg Koenig has provided an interesting walkthrough of the video on his blog AtomicDelights that gives us an understanding of exactly what we’re looking at in Apple’s video above:

Most metal stampings go through one or two die tools to produce the final shape. With the Mac Pro though, the challenge is to produce a massive amount of plastic deformation without tearing, rippling or deforming the perfect cylindrical surface. To do this, the enclosure is drawn through a series of dies that progressively stretch the aluminum into something approaching the final shape of a Mac Pro.

Deep drawing is a process that very efficiently produces a “net shape” part. Apple could have just chucked a giant hunk of aluminum in a lathe and created the same part, but that amount of metal removal is extremely inefficient. Deep drawing efficiently creates a hunk of metal that is very close to the final shape of a Mac Pro in just a couple of operations. After that, the Mac Pro enclosure is lathe turned to clean up the surface and achieve desired tolerance, polished, placed back in a machining center to produce the I/O, power button and chamfer features and finally anodized.

With the Mac Pro, Apple has elevated a relatively low-precision/low-tolerance process (deep draw stamping) used to make my dog’s water bowl and toilet brush canister into the creation of an aerospace grade piece of desktop jewelry.

You can check out the full walkthrough of the video on AtomicDelights here.

(via @drwave)

Made in USA Mac Stories October 15, 2013

Flextronics could be prepping for new US made Mac Pro w/ hiring spree for “next generation desktop computer”

After Apple announced earlier this year that it would soon begin assembling Made-in-the-USA Macs in Texas and later confirmed it would be the new Mac Pro, it looks like Apple’s manufacturing partner Flextronics is currently preparing for the device’s launch later this year. Austin American-Statesman (via MacRumors) reports that Flextronics recently presented plans to government officials in Austin that would see the company hire up to 1700 employees to manufacture a “next generation desktop computer.” While Apple wasn’t specifically mentioned in the report, the report speculates Apple is the likely client after confirming that Dell is no longer building PCs in the US:

In its presentation, Flextronics, which builds computers, smartphones and other products for a range of brands, specified only that the foreign trade zone designation would help it move production of a “next generation desktop computer” from China to Austin.

The presentation did little to identify an exact brand. A spokesman for Dell Inc., which at one time produced desktops and laptops in North Austin factories, said it no longer builds them in the U.S… However, Flextronics’ presentation did add fuel to the ongoing rumors that Apple Inc.’s new line of Macintosh desktop computers could be built in Austin. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in May that the company would spend about 100 million to move its Mac production to Texas, but he did not disclose a specific site.

That would put manufacturing of the new Mac Pro less than a mile away from Apple’s newly renovated Austin campus that houses mainly customer support and sales staff.

There’s no solid proof that Flextronics new hiring spree is for the Mac Pro, but it looks likely as Apple is expected to begin shipping the redesigned Mac later this year. Latest rumors have it that Apple will show off the new Mac Pro once again at its upcoming iPad event on October 22, while a report this morning claimed it could become available to customers as early as November 15.

Made in USA Mac Stories May 21, 2013

During this morning’s Senate hearing regarding Apple’s tax strategies, Apple CEO Tim Cook provided opening statements regarding Apple’s perspective on the issues. Notably, during a time in which Cook was discussing Apple’s United States-based operations and strategies, the Apple CEO said that Apple’s upcoming Made-in-the-USA Mac line will be assembled in Texas…

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