Sunday, October 05, 2008

The "Brick"

The last three years of liberation and redemption in my life have brought me on a journey of recovery from the allure and indulgences of techno-lust. Testimony of this battle is my 1 1/2 year old war torn tank of a Nokia cellphone whose central feature is - suprisingly - to dial and receive phone calls (sans camera, bluetooth, internet, GPS, media player). And that brick was free with my contract renewal.

Speaking of bricks, there have been rumors circulating about Apple's upcoming product releases. Confession: Yes, I still track the latest products, though not as obsessively as I once did. I also don't experience uncontrollable yearnings to splurge on the latest gadget when doing so. But back to the "brick". The latest speculation on codename "brick" actually seems plausible and intriguing enough to share:
"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...

What advantages are there to manufacturing with 3D laser and water jet cutting?

  • 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.

As Peter Oppenheimer said at the recent earnings call, this innovation is something "Apple's competitors won't be able to match" for some time to come. We expect the process to drive down the prices of MacBooks over the next few years and at the same time allow Apple to continue to lead in the innovation department. Design changes should come much more rapidly with rapid prototyping.

The newly designed MacBooks are still on target for an October 14th announcement..." (9to5mac.com)
Even better product and lower price point? Now I love my 2 year old MacBook, and she has a few more years before I would even think of replacing her, but that is still music to my ears.

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