The MacBook manufacturing process up to this point has been outsourced to Chinese or Taiwanese manufacturers like Foxconn. Now Apple is in charge. The company has spent the last few years building an entirely new manufacturing process that uses lasers (w/o sharks) and jets of water to carve the MacBooks out of a brick of aluminum.
(Yes, this sounded a bit crazy to us as well. But our source is adamant so bear with us. He says Apple has built a manufacturing process that would make Henry Ford proud.)
This isn't entirely new. Steve Jobs has always had a fondness for having his own plant to produce computers. In 1990, he built a totally automated plant in Fremont California (thanks PED) that could build NEXT machines with only 100 workers. It was a "plant with just about everything: lasers, robots, speed, and remarkably few defects." Unfortunately, the demand wasn't very high at the time. However, Jobs remarked, "I'm as proud of the factory as I am of the computer."
9to5 Mac speculates that the process will have the following benefits:
- Carving out of aluminum eliminates the need to bend the metal and create weak spots or microfolds and rifts.
- There are no seams in the final product, so it is smooth.
- Screws aren’t needed to tie the products together.
- The shell is one piece of metal so it is super light, super strong and super cheap.
- You can be a whole lot more creative with the design if you don't have to machine it.
This process should allow Apple to make quicker design changes and lower MacBook prices in the future.