Apple’s multi-billion dollar secret workshops producing innovative gadgets you’ll never see

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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 …

A fair chunk of the cash – up from $7B last year – will of course be spent on initial work on the company’s spaceship campus, but Bloomberg’s sources say that Apple takes a very hands-on approach to its manufacturing process.

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Apple Chiefs Discuss Strategy, Market Share—and the New iPhones

Apple’s doomed.

Behind this week's cover

photo by Adam Amengual for Bloomberg Businessweek

This is what you hear and read. Sure, it was a hell of a run—iPhone, iPad, all that—but it’s about to end, and fast. If you need any proof, just look at China: the world’s largest smartphone market, flooded with ever-cheaper handsets and tablets from domestic manufacturers that didn’t even exist when the iPhone was first announced. You think those cheap handsets and tablets will confine themselves to the Middle Kingdom? Of course not—China will be the epicenter of a global collapse in device prices. The competition will be beyond Thunderdome, fought by companies armed with little more than a free operating system from Google and razor-thin profit margins. The Cupertino (Calif.) maker of chamfered-edged, precision-etched baubles? Toast. Check Apple’s stock price, down around 33 percent since its peak about a year ago.

None of this rattles Tim Cook. Oh, he’s heard it, of course, but his soft-spoken, deliberate manner in interviews is not cover for how, say, Apple’s share price affects his mood. “I don’t feel euphoric on the up, and I don’t slit my wrists when it goes down,” he says. “I have ridden the roller coaster too many times for that.” Read the rest of this entry »