Windows PC assemblers struggle as Apple locks up metal chassis supply

“Supply of metal chassis for ultraportable PC notebooks remains constrained as Apple has reportedly locked up most of the capacity available from suppliers,” Katie Marsal reports for AppleInsider.

“Taiwanese tech industry publication DigiTimes reported on Tuesday that metal chassis supply ‘continues to suffer from shortage,'” Marsal reports. “The reason: Apple is buying most of the supply available for its unibody MacBook lineup, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.”

Marsal reports, “The two largest metal chassis manufacturers, Catcher Technology and Foxconn, have reportedly been “aggressively establishing new CNC machines.” But they are said to be unlikely to full demand until the end of 2012.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: To the innovator go the spoils.


  1. It’s not the innovator in this case, but the one who pays in advance.
    Thanks to their cash hoarding, (and confidence that their products will sell like hotcakes) Apple has the money to give to suppliers in advance so they can ramp up risk free.
    In return, they give Apple everything they need . . . first!

      1. Yes, this is how they got like four years long exclusive on that until last year.

        As to these news, it is just another ignorant tabloidish nonsense from DT: CNC machines that Foxconn uses for Apple are exclusively used for Apple and totally unrelated to whatever third-party orders.

        Foxconn is concracted manufacturer that, in case of Apple, works on Apple’s technology process under rule of Apple’s engineers. Even though the direct buyer of CNC machines was Foxconn, those was conditioned to be used only for Apple.

        Few manufacturers, including Foxconn, spent four years to develop independent unibody manufacturing processes and they purchases CNC machines for that independently of those used for Apple.

  2. Watch Apple be accused of monopolizing the market.

    This is the best way Apple can protect their innovations – not through litigation. If there is any sort of hardware required that is in short supply Apple should continually lock it up for as long as they can. Then let everyone have it as they switch to the next thing. Hopefully this is happening with retina displays of all sizes.

  3. That is very good news for PC assemblers because they don’t have to worry any more making a MacBook air copy because Apple is already doing it.
    Now they can focus in their OWN PRODUCTS instead of focusing in APPLE PRODUCTS.

    1. Apple innovates so well that an entire global industry has sprung up (pioneered by Microsoft) in making cheap Apple knockoffs.

      So, the reason PC assemblers focus on APPLE PRODUCTS is because their core competence is COPYING APPLE. AFter all, that’s the industry they are in.

    1. You are catching on. No reason to introduce liquidmetal chassis elements until the competition has dumped their money into a soon-to-be second-best technology. No need to bring out the new new thing as long as the current new thing is still selling well. Use the time to improve quality of the next steps in technology, develop and monopolize capacity behind the scenes and allow the supply chain to ripen a bit to take the edge off costs. Don’t tip your hand early. Be cool. Plan the next several moves, determine way ahead of time what the appropriate triggers will be for making them and stick to your plan. That will enable you to obtain the maximum possible value from each step in product development while striking the optimal balance between innovation, responsiveness, long-term growth and profitability. Proactive, planned and purposefully paced rather than reactive and rushed.

      As a shareholder, I like that strategy. I like it a lot.

  4. Wait, I’m missing something. All of Apple’s chassis (chasses?) are Unibody-style, made with CNC machines. Unless things have drastically changed since I left the PC world in ’08, most everyone else’s boxes are made from stamped sheet metal and injection-molded plastic. How is Apple affecting those production lines? They don’t even use them any more (except perhaps for the Mac Pro, but that doesn’t exactly surge forth in show-stopping numbers). Any insights?

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