This is a baby MacBook Pro being forged from a solid aluminum slab
Apple has a ton of cash right now. Over the years, they’ve built relationships with suppliers and have been able to use both their deep pockets and those relationships with suppliers and manufacturers have major control over supply chains.
A story from BusinessWeek talks about Apple’s willingness to invest in manufacturing. For instance, the little green light on aluminum MacBooks, wireless keyboards and Magic TrackPads. You know, the one that comes on when your MacBook Air’s camera is on, or when you power up your TrackPad? That’s millions of dollars of Jony Ive’s idea right there. Mr. Ive thought it would be cool to have a little green light shoot through the aluminum casing of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro when the camera is on. Only problem is that light can’t pass through metal.
What does Ive do? The dude does some research and figures out that a laser manufacturer can make lasers small enough to punch tiny, very tiny (almost invisible to the human eye) holes through the metal. Suddenly, light can shine through. The problem? Apple has to make a few million of these things. So Apple spends a bunch of money getting them a few hundred of these $250k lasers. Think about that. “Hundred of them.” Hundreds of quarter of a million dollar lasers, and exclusivity of course.
That’s just the beginning. There are talks of billion dollar upfront deals for manufacturers. That’s some serious money. What does this mean for Apple? While the initial spending may seem ridiculous, it really means better supply chains. They can get their products out to exacting specifications faster than many of their rivals. So yes, it looks like your iPad 2 or iPhone 4S will be ready in time for Christmas.