Apple said to be hogging metal chassis supply

Metal enclosures are in high demand these days, and it’s no secret why. PC laptops are shedding their flimsy plastic shells and replacing them with unibody aluminum cases, taking cues from Apple’s MacBook lineup. There’s just one little problem: according to DigiTimes, Apple is hogging metal chassis supply and causing shortages.

Quoting “sources from upstream supply chain,” DigiTimes says Apple “currently has booked up most of the capacity from makers.” The site adds that the two biggest suppliers—Catcher Technology and Foxconn—are “aggressively” ramping up capacity by installing new CNC milling machines. However, DigiTimes claims supply isn’t going to catch up to demand until the end of this year.

That’s probably bad news for ultrabook makers, since metal seems to be an especially popular construction material among the new wave of ultra-thin, ultra-light MacBook Air lookalikes. But it’s probably good news for Apple, which seems to be once again throwing its weight around to secure aggressive supply agreements. Considering the Mac maker’s soaring revenues, ever-growing market share, and preposterous cash balance, I wouldn’t be surprised if even large PC makers were having trouble getting the same royal treatment from suppliers.

PC ultrabooks don’t have to be made out of aluminum, though. As we learned earlier this year, Intel is pushing fiberglass-reinforced plastic enclosures that are purportedly just as tough as metal ones. The reference Ivy Bridge ultrabook we reviewed back in May was apparently made from some kind of souped-up plastic, too, and it felt surprisingly solid and resilient despite lacking a metal exterior. However, the system didn’t feel as slick or as refined as a MacBook Air—or even Asus’ Zenbook UX31.

Comments closed
    • anotherengineer
    • 7 years ago

    Lies

    There are plenty of shops and aluminum in the world.

    Just because foxconn is short on cnc machines doesn’t mean apple is hogging the chasis.

    Correct title should read there isn’t enough cnc machines in foxconn to keep up with metal chasis demand.

    If HP offers double the amount of $$ for an Al chasis than apple did and they have no contract with apple, then mac would be in short supply or plastic or they would be made else where.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://news.yahoo.com/rights-group-says-apple-suppliers-china-breaking-labor-090539283--sector.html[/url<]

    • Wirko
    • 7 years ago

    What’s wrong with cast aluminium anyway? Is it so much inferior in terms of strength that it’s unusable for a notebook chassis?

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      It would be very hard to cast and stay within the tight tolerances required to create a laptop. If it was cast, you would more then likely have to machine the cast part as well to get it within spec and at that point you might as well machined it completely from a block.

        • Wirko
        • 7 years ago

        It’s also possible that some combination of casting and machining is used. Machining from a rectangular block takes a lot of time; starting with a part that is approximately the required shape should be several times faster. If your manufacturing capacities are limited by your CNC capacities, you certainly explore all the options.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      Traditionally, laptops [i<]have[/i<] used a lot of cast parts...for the innards. But the all-metal chassis designs that are currently popular require a bit more work to make shiny.

        • Wirko
        • 7 years ago

        True but machined parts require sandblasting, brushing, anodizing etc. too before they start to look good.

    • Visigoth
    • 7 years ago

    Well, if most makers had a working brain like Lenovo, they’d have made a carbon fiber notebook instead of following other companies like sheep. Lead, damn it!

    fixed: typo.

      • Malphas
      • 7 years ago

      Carbon fibre is crap.

        • Beelzebubba9
        • 7 years ago

        How so?

          • Malphas
          • 7 years ago

          Because as people have already said here, carbon fibre is still plastic, it just happens to be reinforced with carbon filaments, but the majority of the material is still plastic and it feels the same as plastic only stronger. Calling it “carbon fibre” is more marketing than accuracy, but it seems to have worked judged by the amount of thumbs down people have gotten for calling a spade a spade, and even guys like MadManOriginal (#27) who don’t seem to realise what carbon fibre actually is at all.

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            Can we stop being ridiculous about this, please? Carbon fiber is usually referred to as carbon fiber because the specific properties of the carbon fiber weave imparts unique tensile strength properties and ductility changes relative to the total material weight or the un-reinforced polymer resin, and also imparts a distinct appearance (and a distinct price).

            In other news, fiberglass “just happens to be reinforced with glass fibers”, and can actually be made using either thermoplastic or themosetting polymer base depending on the application, but it likewise takes on its own set of unique properties as a result of the fiberglass content and is commonly referred to as “fiberglass”.

            Finally, all plastics do NOT feel (or behave) the same. If they did we would only need one kind. Plastic chassis components in laptops are usually ABS, a thermoplastic which survives abuse mainly by being somewhat soft and pliable, while accents may include thermoset acrylic pieces that are quite hard but also brittle and respond poorly to even modest amounts of UV exposure.

      • Cuhulin
      • 7 years ago

      You want a laptop of lead?

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        That way gay Superman can’t stare at Visigoth’s junk when the laptop on his lap.

          • Visigoth
          • 7 years ago

          Moron.

          [url<]http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lead[/url<] [quote<]"1. To show the way to by going in advance. ..."[/quote<] Someone once said: "It's better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and resolve all doubt." In this case you've definitely resolved all doubt.

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            Then why did you open your mouth?

            They were obviously having fun with the play on words.

            • Visigoth
            • 7 years ago

            O RLY?

    • Shambles
    • 7 years ago

    Why do people care about metal laptops? Laptops are a disposable commodity today. I would understand if people ran the same machine for an extended length of time but typically many people toss their laptop after only two years. Of course this is all how the manufacturers plan things, they want you to keep buying.

      • Malphas
      • 7 years ago

      I feel like two years is probably an exaggeration, but yeah, cheap laptops are more or less disposable. I think a lot of that is due more to the shoddy build quality and bloatware-hastened Windows rot, rather than having anything to do with the inner hardware becoming obsolete. I mean there’s very little you’d use a cheap laptop for today that you couldn’t do on one two years ago, most people only really need a machine for very basic undemanding tasks like web browsing, light Microsoft Office work, media playback, etc.

      • Beelzebubba9
      • 7 years ago

      All of my laptops are still functioning and in use – and one of them is a IBM T41 from ~2002. 🙂

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      Laptops are a disposable commodity because manufacturers don’t build laptops with any sort of thought towards longevity. Laptops will more often physically break or deteriorate before the hardware inside them becomes obsolete. As a testament to Apple though, I own a mid 2010 MacBook Pro, which has held up incredibly well despite being dropped off a desk twice (when it was closed) and generally taking some fair abuse over these two years, and it’s still as good as the day I bought it. The only reason I’m considering upgrading is due to my need for better hardware, it’s not anything to do with the wear and tear on my laptop.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Of course the question should be with countries like US, Canada, Mexico, Poland etc who have massive machining capacities why the others manufacturers are dependent on the same manufacturers of Apple? Milling is pretty basic stuff after all.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      Not shipping products is cheaper then having it done in the US? oO

      • dlenmn
      • 7 years ago

      There may be a lot of capacity in those countries, but I imagine it’s spread all over the place. Contracting with a hodge podge of different companies wouldn’t be easy.

      Why isn’t there a lot of machining capacity in one spot? Usually machining is something you try to avoid if you’re mass producing something; casting, molding, extruding, etc. is a lot cheaper when you’re making large quantities of something. Machining is usually reserved for things with small production runs where the fixed cost of those other methods is too high. So, I’d wager most of the capacity is at places geared for small production runs.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      It’s not the technology, it’s the supply chain. Converting a machine shop from auto parts, medical, or aerospace manufacturing to producing laptop chasses is not so easy as flipping a switch, it will require everything from securing contracts with the appropriate raw materials suppliers to reconfiguring the shop floor layout, and you need a credible commitment from purchasers that they will buy enough parts to make it worth your time.

      And you’re still going to ship all of the finished components back to China for final assembly because the other components and manufacturing facilities are located over there.

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    People : Its not a material issue but machining.

    Their is plenty of aluminium around to build hundreds and hundreds of millions of ‘ultrabooks’
    and a very, very cheap material. No wonder soda can are made of aluminium.

    Today we are at $2000 for 1 ton of aluminium.
    200g use in a ultrabook = 40cents of raw material cost for a 13″ macbook air.

      • Bauxite
      • 7 years ago

      Indeed, the real point is limited fabrication capacity, not actual supply. Sounds like selling CNC machines is going to be profitable 🙂

      Aluminum is plentiful, literally one of the most common elements in the earth’s crust. Dig a hole, pick up a rock, throw it at someone, there you go.

      It just took brainpower and a lot of electricity to reveal the free-elemental form we are used to today. Not even 200 years ago it was completely unknown, and for awhile it was more valuable than gold. I could ramble on with lots of factoids but theres wikipedia for that…yeah…I like the stuff.

        • no51
        • 7 years ago

        I could tell by your user name. I bet your name is Al(fred/bert).

          • stdRaichu
          • 7 years ago

          Gah! Sorry for the -1 – I clicked the wrong button :'(

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]fiberglass-reinforced plastic enclosures that are purportedly just as tough as metal ones.[/quote<] Ummm, no, especially when factoring in weight as anyone with fibreglass experience can tell you. Fibreglass gets a vast majority of it's strength from complex shapes. Carbon fibre and Kevlar are better for sure, when weaved and the correct resin is used. Even with carbon fibre it has relatively low stiffness especially on flat surfaces.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 7 years ago

      Composite fiber-reinforced plastics can cover a wide variety of materials. Most of us probably think of random-oriented chopped-strand glass fibers in a thermoset polyester resin (e.g.: bisphenol-A fumarate) lke you’d see in a surfboard. However, you can use stronger woven fibers (carbon, for example) and you can use stronger thermoplastics or thermoset plastics to produce parts that are impressively strong.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        I’m not saying it isn’t possible to make them strong, just that large flat surfaces like you find in a laptop are exactly the type surface, especially when you factor in the required thickness and weight, that exploits their weak point. Fibreglass especially if you want to use it as a protective shell where minimal flex is desired.

          • ludi
          • 7 years ago

          Yeah, but the same is true for metals when made into broad, thin surfaces. It’s not the material that’s the limiting factor here, it’s a matter of planning your chassis hardpoints and correctly determining any supplemental reinforcement that might be needed.

      • demani
      • 7 years ago

      Exactly- you need that sandwich construction to get lightweight and strength, but that adds thickness- take away that thickness and you need a bunch more fiber/resin to get the same strength. Of course “tough” is suitably generic to mean something other than rigid (ie Kevlar can be tougher than CF for impact resistance and other tensile strength uses). Fiberglass is cheap though.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 7 years ago

    So what? Aluminum isn’t the only suitable metal for notebook bodies. Magnesium and magnesium alloys will work just as well although they may be more expensive.

      • Spyder22446688
      • 7 years ago

      You answered your own question. Other materials are more expensive. With the race to $699 Ultrabooks, every penny counts.

        • hubick
        • 7 years ago

        Will someone please forego the race to the bottom and cater to the high end!?! Please?

          • Corrado
          • 7 years ago

          You mean, like Apple?

            • EtherealN
            • 7 years ago

            I just checked though, and holy crap they charge up the wazooo.

            Something that would be nice would be something like the new MacPro, but just a wee bit thicker towards allowing relaxed pricing. Not everyone needs BOTH performance and thin form factors. But I guess that’s the question of what one puts into the term “high end” – I personally say “performance”.

            Then again, since I wouldn’t be using OSX, using an apple laptop is defeating for me personally (the screens would be nice with Win and Lin too, but the Mac keyboard would not – bit of a shame everyone couldn’t just agree on a keyboard layout back in ’85 or something and let that be standardised, that alone would have made my life soooo much easier. 😀 )

        • blastdoor
        • 7 years ago

        aluminum is also cheaper to recycle. In fact, using recycled aluminum is cheaper for many applications than “fresh” aluminum. The same is not true of magnesium.

          • EtherealN
          • 7 years ago

          If I remember right, aluminium was actually the only thing where there was a solid _financial_ motive towards recycling, at all. Talking short-term, of course; in the long term effing up the planet is financially negative too, but you get the point.

          I haven’t checked numbers for that in a long time though, so hopefully a couple materials more will have joined the economically self-sustaining club. You happen to know some useful sources for today’s situation?

      • chµck
      • 7 years ago

      Magnesium alloys, not magnesium (too brittle)

        • ludi
        • 7 years ago

        That’s true for nearly all metals we use on a daily basis — too brittle, too ductile, too something. Most applications of aluminum are alloys, too.

      • Malphas
      • 7 years ago

      Presumably it’s much the same process with the same equipment and the same suppliers though, so switching metals wouldn’t make much difference in increasing supply. There’s no shortage of aluminium (especially not driven by Macbooks), it’s the the whole chassis supply chain which is being hogged by the demand from Apple.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Exactly, if there was a shortage of aluminium I’m sure much larger users would be crying right now like the automotive and bottling industry.

          • demani
          • 7 years ago

          It’s not aluminum that is tough to source, it’s the CNC machine time. Aluminum supply is pretty good, but the kind of machinery needed to mass produce the chassis aren’t-especially if you aren’t willing to the foot the bill for the manufacturer the way Apple is. That’s a benefit of higher margins ands and tons of cash, and right now nobody else is willing to make that gamble (though MS may have started with the Surface manufacturing tech-we’ll see if that is more than a one shot product).

      • blastdoor
      • 7 years ago

      I’d like to see more bamboo based enclosures 😉

        • Meadows
        • 7 years ago

        That sounds awesome.

      • bhtooefr
      • 7 years ago

      Lenovo and Dell have actually been using magnesium frames in their higher-end business machines for quite a few years now, and then wrapping them in plastic (although Dell’s using more magnesium now, and Lenovo’s using carbon fiber reinforced polymers).

      • anotherengineer
      • 7 years ago

      Not to mention that magnesium is more prone to cracking than Al and it is also flammable.

      That’s right, magnesium will burn bright and hot if it does ignite.

    • hubick
    • 7 years ago

    Then maybe the other manufacturers should pull their head out of Apple’s ass and try carbon-fibre or something?

      • bhtooefr
      • 7 years ago

      For that matter, Lenovo’s done carbon fiber in the past.

        • blastdoor
        • 7 years ago

        Whoever came up with the idea of rebranding plastic as “carbon fiber” deserves some kind of marketing Oscar.

        —edit —

        Ha ha — I love the thumbs down from the pro-plastic lobby! Bring it on, b!tch3s!

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          You’re getting thumbed down for saying that carbon fiber – which, fyi, is fibers of carbon shockingly enough – is the same as platic, which is ultimately hydrocarbon-based.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 7 years ago

            It’s still a fiber-reinforced polymer.

            • Cuhulin
            • 7 years ago

            They are obviously related, particularly after the woven fiber sheets are put in the polymer (or the polymer put over the sheets or any of a number of other processes), but they are not the same.

            • blastdoor
            • 7 years ago

            Exactly.

            Not that it isn’t a super clever and extraordinarily useful fiber-reinforcement.

            And seriously — whoever realized that calling it precisely what it is — “reinforced plastic” would be monumentally dumb, but calling it “carbon fiber” would totally change perceptions — really does deserved some kind of an award.

            Please do continue to thumbs down me, though — it’s totally consistent with my perception of the knuckle dragging mouth breathers who troll these discussion forums. I’d hate to have to reassess that opinion.

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            Do you know what the word “plastic” actually means, or why there is a technical difference between “thermosoftening plastics” and “thermosetting polymers”, of which carbon fiber is the latter type?

            Many people casually use “plastics” in reference to all molded polymer compounds but that doesn’t mean that your argument about carbon fiber makes any sense. The word “plastics” is too broad to convey meaning in specific applications. Carbon fiber is a unique product with specific desirable properties as well as corresponding weaknesses, and there is a reason we often refer to it by a specific name.

            • blastdoor
            • 7 years ago

            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_fiber[/url<] "Carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer or carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP or CRP or often simply carbon fiber), is a very strong and light fiber-reinforced polymer which contains carbon fibers." The noun here is "plastic" or "polymer". "carbon fiber reinforced" is the adjective. Who ever refers to something by the modifying adjective rather than the noun? If you think "polymer" sounds any better than plastic, then you are clearly not the genius who came up with the idea to call it "carbon fiber" Did you vote me down yet, btw? Breathe through your nose.

            • bhtooefr
            • 7 years ago

            The full name of the product is “carbon fiber reinforced polymer”, but the carbon fiber reinforcement is extremely notable as far as its contribution to the properties of the material.

            A well-done CFRP laptop structure will have properties so different from the conventional plastics used in laptop case construction – ABS and PC being two of the main ones – that it should be considered separately from those conventional plastics.

    • chµck
    • 7 years ago

    [url<]http://i.imgur.com/ApqKP.jpg[/url<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      As a parent of a child who consumes Fairly Odd Parents, I salute you.

    • blastdoor
    • 7 years ago

    An example of how Apple has passed a tipping point. Apple can no more be caught now than Microsoft could in 1995. The next time anybody will have a chance at dethroning Apple is when things like smartphones and tablets are considered arcane. Yet even then it will be hard — for all its success, Microsoft was never as big as Apple is poised to become. Apple’s biggest adversary may become the government, although so far Apple’s share of any given market isn’t really big enough to be a major anti-trust concern.

      • Shambles
      • 7 years ago

      Somehow I don’t think you were around during the IBM/Microsoft powerhouse days.

        • EV42TMAN
        • 7 years ago

        I think you’re right

          • blastdoor
          • 7 years ago

          Think again.

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            Think different.

      • bjm
      • 7 years ago

      I disagree. We are in the smartphone/tablet equivalent of the mid-to-late 1980s PC industry. But unlike the PC industry, the smartphone industry is moving so ridiculously fast that we will reach the 1995 equivalent less than five years from now. I believe all the players that will be considered players have been introduced, but the one remaining question is who will be the king of the hill.

      That is — if there will ever be one big king of the hill. Unlike in the 1980s, there was no single all-encompassing compatibility platform that everyone competed on that is the Interwebz. You were either DOS, Amiga, Apple, etc. This scenario simply demanded that their be a king of the hill. Regardless, we are in a very interesting and significant time in computing history.

      Enjoy it… live to tell your grandchildren these stories!

        • blastdoor
        • 7 years ago

        None of the companies involved in the 1980s PC industry was the largest market cap publicly traded company in the world at the time and growing at a rate of nearly 100% per year. This is unparalleled. The only company that might be bigger than Apple today is Saudi Aramco (estimated at about $750 billion), but since it’s privately held, it’s hard to know for sure. In any event, there’s a very good chance Apple will pass $1 trillion market cap in a few years.

        I don’t blame you for not being able to fully appreciate the scale at which Apple is operating. It would be interesting to see a comparison of Apple today to, say, the East India Company. We’re entering unchartered territory here.

          • bjm
          • 7 years ago

          True, Apple’s growth is indeed unprecedented, but I was primarily disagreeing with the notion that Apple is so far beyond anyone’s reach that they cannot ever be dethroned until a new paragliding (LOL, damn autocorrect, I meant paradigm) shift. That has yet to be established.

          In terms of pure financial arguments, yes – it is unlikely anyone will top them. But in terms of market share leadership, they have a lot to defend against. Look at the growth rate of Android devices, it is fairly impressive its own right. Windows has an interesting card to play and we won’t know how that will play out until a few years.

          But anyway, if your primary point was nobody will top them as a single behemoth money making machine, then yeah — we can agree there. But the business model of Android, even if they were to thoroughly beat Apple, is not conducive to building such a single behemoth.

          • Shambles
          • 7 years ago

          My disagreement was that although Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world they don’t have anywhere near the influence that Microsoft had in the 90’s. They are very limited in the products they produce. All they do is sell consumer tech goods. They’re not into corporate support, they’re not into a lot of research, they don’t even have any stake in social networking which is a tidal force nowadays as well. They do one thing and they do it very, very well. Outside of the sphere they dominate they basically don’t exist. Even companies like Toshiba own nuclear power plants and invest in other weird directions. In the end, all Apple has is marketing which allows them the profit margins they have and the financial freedom to dictate terms (similar to Wal-Mart).

          Microsoft didn’t have to compete with anybody in the 90s. Apple has to compete with EVERYONE. They’ll never reach a large enough market share to come anywhere close to having to worry about anti-trust. The pie is cut into far more pieces now than it was twenty years ago.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            I think you underestimate the mindshare that Apple has with consumers. Even if they don’t own an Apple device, much of it is designed to be Apple-like. iPhone is fast becoming Xerox is to photocopies and Google is to searching – a proper noun converted to common noun covering a wide category.

            • blastdoor
            • 7 years ago

            “In the end, all Apple has is marketing which allows them the profit margins they have and the financial freedom to dictate terms (similar to Wal-Mart).”

            Funny that you would post that here given the nature of this article that we’re commenting on, which shows very clearly that Apple has a lot more than marketing. Also, yes, they can get very good terms for the things they buy, but it’s more than that. Walmart doesn’t design the products they sell. There seems to be a meme that Apple is just marketing+money, but otherwise they’re not “real engineers” doing “real R&D” and building real things. It’s probably to Apple’s advantage that people think this — better to be underestimated than overestimated.

            Regarding MS, influence, and anti-trust — I definitely agree with your point on anti-trust. I think it’s possible Apple will escape the kind of anti-trust scrutiny that Microsoft did. However, it’s not due to lack of influence/power. It’s due to a much smarter (or more fortuitous) deployment of that influence/power. MS completely dominated one slice of the stack (the OS), making their influence stick out like a sore thumb and attracting anti-trust scrutiny (and the scorn of many consumers). Apple is not doing that, instead Apple is weakly dominating the entire stack, making tons more money, and avoiding anti-trust scrutiny because nowhere do they show up as a monopolist by conventional definitions. It’s a much better strategy. Again, better to be underestimated than overestimated.

          • Arag0n
          • 7 years ago

          I don’t think that apple will be able to keep their profit margin forever. They are starting to have dammed good competition and alternatives at much lower price levels. They will need to decrease prices or increase quality (manufacturing cost) as they had to do with the iPad3 screen, that all the extra cost was invisible for the customer.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Right now Apple dictates price. Remember when the iPad debuted everyone expected $800+ and they said $500. The iPhone, both on-contract and off, is similar in price to high-end Android phones. The sole exception appears to be the Galaxy Nexus – it’s $400 where most off-contract high-end phones are in the $550-650 range.

            • blastdoor
            • 7 years ago

            Placed in the context of Apple’s history as a company, your comment is “odd” to say the least. Apple has *almost always* had higher profit margins, yet they have *never* been as dominant as they are now. If at any time in the history of Apple, I were to say “I don’t think Apple can maintain these profit margins”, this sure as heck wouldn’t be the time I’d pick.

          • Cuhulin
          • 7 years ago

          Measuring company growth by market cap, though, is fundamentally wrong because the market cap measures both the company and investors’ perceptions about the future price of company stock. The latter can change quickly with a few thoughts that stock prices will slow their growth — as I believe we are seeing at times this year.

          By any other measure, Apple is a large but not a “largest in the world” company.

            • blastdoor
            • 7 years ago

            ok, how about profit?

      • pogsnet
      • 7 years ago
      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      This has been said of Apple before. Still, they managed to screw it up. I think if Steve Jobs were around and everything was under his iron fist, I’d give you 50/50 you were right.

      Without him, I don’t think so. The one thing I agree with MS on is that the smartphone market is truly just opening up as prices are just now getting affordable for the devices and the service is still rather high in cost. As costs go down, you’ll see the low-end open up bigtime and then we’ll see who the leader becomes.

      What you say here reminds me of the same people who said as much of Apple just before MS swooped in and gobbled up the market from them after they kept their pricing high and their performance limited by restricted ecosystems in the face of open ones. The lead then seemed insurmountable, but it quickly wasn’t because the cheap seats showed up and wanted their apps and they wanted open systems to move between for lower costs than Apple was willing to provide.

      This is what is baffling about MS’s strategy. They target the mid-to-high end, but the winning strategy back then was to target the lowest cost segment and build up a wide user base for all that open software to enjoy. Not only are they not targeting the cheap seats, they’re also not providing that open software platform that Android is. They’re highly restrictive, Apple-like, and they don’t have the clout.

      Google looks to have a decent shot of capitalizing on the day when EVERYONE really does have a smartphone and a tablet. Right now, Apple’s riding on the wave of everyone who can afford a $100+ cell phone/data plan + $500 a year tablet. Eventually, the people who can’t afford that (and in this economy, that’s a lot of people) will join in as prices drop lower and lower.

      And Apple has shown no interest in the below $500 tablet so far. I’d say there’s a decent shot of Google’s new G-branded tablet setting a standard and giving the market a baseline tablet spec.

        • blastdoor
        • 7 years ago

        “This has been said of Apple before. Still, they managed to screw it up”

        I certainly cannot vouch for what every person has ever said about Apple throughout its history, but if someone in 1990 or 1980 believed that Apple was the most profitable company in the world with the ability to totally dominate global supply chains, they were mistaken.

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