“Apple is about to become one of the world’s biggest buyers of industrial robots. The company has announced a 78% increase in its non-retail capital expenditure to $7.1bn. Analysts in Asia and America believe that the size of Apple’s robot purchases could tie up the market for several years, making it difficult for companies such as Samsung, Nokia and HTC to compete,” Keith Woolcock writes for Seeking Alpha.

“Up to 700,000 people are employed in China, making products like the iPhone and iPad for Apple. It takes 141 steps to make an iPhone and each iPad will, over the course of the 5 days that it takes to build it, pass through 325 pairs of hands,” Woolcock writes. “Although labor only represents about 3% of the cost of building these products for Apple, the wages of Chinese factory workers have been rising at about 15% a year for much of the last decade. Problems managing this workforce have also harmed Apple’s image in a region that has become the most important engine of its growth.”

Woolcock writes, “Apple’s move represents an important step in the use of robots in manufacturing. Robots have long been used to build cars, but not so widely used in consumer electronics because these products are more difficult to make.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Minor problem: The proof that Apple’s capital expenditure is for “robots” does not exist in the article. Sorry, the “beliefs” of “analysts in Asia and America” just don’t cut it in any shape or form. And, the last we heard anything about robots in relation to Apple, it was Apple assembler Foxconn who was talking of buying them, not Apple (see related articles below). Apple’s non-retail capital expenditure increase could be for something else, or more likely, multiple things; “robots” is just conjecture at this point.

Related articles:
Foxconn’s 2012 plan: More robots, no layoffs, zero suicides, new factories – November 22, 2011
Foxconn to replace some workers with 1 million robots within 3 years – July 31, 2011