Apple’s recent huge investments in plants and equipment for Liquidmetal use in iOS devices, Macs?

“Apple [AAPL] is shaking up the world’s electronics supply chain, making huge investments in plant and infrastructure as it prepares for fall’s iPhone 5,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “note Citibank’s claims that if you took Apple out the equation, the electronics supply chain would be shrinking. ‘Year over year, Apple on a dollars basis is expected to [be] outgrowing overall tech supply chain in the June quarter or, in other words, without Apple the supply chain is actually shrinking,’ writes analyst, Jim Suva. This is why Apple is able to command component supply at prices competitors can only dream of.”

“An Asymco report this morning… tells us the company’s investment in machinery and equipment in its most recent quarter is the highest for any quarter to date,” Evans writes. ” Asymco tells us the $1.3 billion in such spend in the last quarter needs to be raised by another $2.5 billion in the next two quarters. In other words, Apple’s investing very, very heavily in plant and equipment. So what’s it planning?”

Evans writes, “I’m not convinced all Apple’s plant and equipment investments can be explained away by the new iPhone. I’m anticipating new Macs, too, and I now expect some significant new re-designs across the company’s desktop and notebook products. Could some of the billions Apple’s investing be going into development of Liquidmetal tech for these devices?”

Read more in the full article here.

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  1. Despite what the headline says, I didn’t read anything specifically in Jonny’s story about this investment being made in Liquid Metal manufacturing. Apple is clearly spending money on some sort of manufacturing capability, but it could be anything. Maybe they are spending it on robotic assembly for Apple products ?

    I’m very sceptical about this whole LM thing. I’ve yet to see any sign that it’s about to happen. I’ve certainly heard many rumours, but is there anything at all to back up the rumours ? You would think that if something this big were about to happen, there would be some tangible signs of it.

    1. The first run with liquid metal already happened. Apple manufactured the little pins used to eject the SIMM cards in the iPhone. Maybe you will see Apple’s second run at it this time.

      1. I think that Liquid Metal has more potential than to be used as a replacement for a straightened out paper clip.

        But my point remans that although there are plenty of rumours about LM being about to be deployed, there is no evidence to support that rumour.

        Either the degree of secrecy is even tighter than before, or it’s not happening yet.

    2. “Could some of the billions Apple’s investing be going into development of Liquid Metal tech for these devices?” -Jonny Evans. Not exactly the assertion MDN makes out but I’m hopeful liquid metal make an appearance in the near future, though only if it’s used on merit for a particular function.

  2. One would think that, if Apple is indeed investing in LM infrastructure, that they would hold that very closely. LM will basically permit Apple to switch to injection-molded metals, which would be a first in the industry, and will likely be as revolutionary to the manufacturing world as the widespread introduction of plastics in the 50’s.

    For those of us who have been around since before the beginning, Apple has a very good history of keeping the secrets that need keeping. I’m not saying that this is it, but I’m saying that it’s entirely reasonable that it could be.

  3. There is a very good chance that liquid metal would have to be cast verses injection molded. Injection molding is usually for much lower temperature parts.

    Just an FYI

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