Apple dives deeper into designing and inventing robots, other manufacturing tech

“Apple is putting a record $10.5 billion to work in new technology — from assembly robots to milling machines — that consumers will never see,” Adam Satariano reports for Bloomberg News.

“To get a jump on rivals such as Samsung Electronics and lay the groundwork for new products, Apple is spending more on the machines that do the behind-the-scenes work of mass producing iPhones, iPads and other gadgets,” Satariano reports “That includes equipment to polish the new iPhone 5c’s colorful plastic, laser and milling machines to carve the MacBook’s aluminum body and testing gear for the iPhone and iPad camera lens, said people with knowledge of its manufacturing methods.”

“Apple is increasingly striking exclusive machinery deals, said the people familiar with the work, outspending peers on the tools that it then places in the factories of its suppliers, many of which are in Asia,” Satariano reports. “The $10.5 billion that Apple has forecast for fiscal 2014 capital expenditures is a fraction of its $171 billion in sales last year, and some of the money is going toward building its new headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Samsung, which has earmarked about $22 billion in capital expenditures this year, is the only consumer-electronics company outspending Apple. By contrast, Hewlett-Packard shelled out $3.7 billion last year and Sony spent $3.95 billion.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s capital expenditures to rise to $11 billion for fiscal 2014 – October 31, 2013
Robots made Apple switch to ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ Macs – December 11, 2012


  1. That’s exactly what I would hope Apple would do. Take their cash and create innovative processes and manufacturing technology way beyond what Samsung is capable of, leaving them in the tech dust. It’s inevitable Apple will need to control the whole thing, including manufacture, to keep their huge advantage. Shamdung will go back to being a backwater third rate tractor and washing machine maker in no time.

    1. When Apple spends R&D money, gears mesh and the engine turns.

      When Samsung spends R&D money, they’re either spinning their wheels or paying marketing spies to bring home other company’s IP, Apple being their very favorite. That’s not the recipe for a future.

    1. . . . and one where you can enlarge the font so I can read without looking for a magnifying glass?
      The option for small and smaller doesn’t cut it.

      Okay, back to topic, go robots.

      1. Right there with ya on the font size. Any good app creator should know their audience and if that includes middle aged people, then test your App with a sampling of that age group.

        Do they think all those reading glasses in just about every store is only for people 90 and up?

        MDN = What age does reading up close start to fail? Early 40s. That could be a large chunk of hits on the website.

  2. Ok, lets talk about “milling machines”. Tim and the Apple board, why do I have to get a Windows program to cut with a “milling machine”? This is a market that was left in the hands of the Microsoft Windows kingdom. WHY!!! Can you not take a half a day’s profit and buy one of the software companies that take 3D files and turn them into “G” code for the milling machines!

    This is embarrassing and why would you leave and market for Microsoft. Apple needs to either own the software or send a team of programers over to the Mac OSX software suppliers that supply the 3D CAD software and write them the code they do not supply to the Mac customers.

    MAN UP AND TAKE THAT MARKET TOO!!! Leave Microsoft nothing. Be done with this!

    1. I agree. Jobs spent a large wad of cash to develop Keynote because he loathed PowerPoint. Another good example of Apple taking a competitors product, making it their own, and creating a far superior product. AutoCad dropped Mac for a number of years and finally brought it back for Mac. Several Architects have told me the Mac version is much better than the Windows version.

      1. Yup… my dream of Apple “Manning up” and crushing the competition in other wide open markets is gone… Apple is not interested in enterprise in any way. The Stock price shows that. Dumbing down every program shows that. It’s a sad sign of the overall culture of America these days. Aim for the middle, and that is what Apple will get.. or already got….

  3. Apple shouldn’t be spending their money on state of art manufacturing equipment. They should be giving their money to Carl Icahn. How dare Apple ignore the wishes of a billionaire over investing in the companies future interest. Come on Apple, the guy already has more money than he could spend in a 100 lifetimes, he needs your money so he can have 200 lifetimes worth of money.

  4. As a shareholder I absolutely want to see Apple put its money into factories and tech-tech manufacturing equipment. Apple puts so much emphasis on perfection that it takes extra time to manufacture and assemble its devices. Anything that Apple can do to speed up the process and maintain quality, I’m all for that. It’s not exactly an additional revenue stream but I still think it’s absolutely necessary. Besides, Apple can afford to do both and more.

    I’d really like to see what type of equipment Samsung uses where they can spit out 120 million smartphones every quarter. They either have an awful lot of machines or the way they design their products is just very simple for rapid assembly. One thing for sure, plastic backs sure do eliminate a lot of extra milling work. Samsung can probably stamp or form those plastic backs faster than the eye can follow.

  5. i wanna boy-bot …a robot boyfriend of my own. i want it to be made by cute cupertino nerds and special apple bots and have an apple logo on the back of its neck and below it should say ‘MADE IN AMERICA’. boy-bots, apple worker assembly bots and nerds ..all ‘MADE IN AMERICA’. is that too much to ask.

    it just seems like everybody else has either stole our secrets, our technology, our guidance systems …and every now and then, their generals have a little slip of the tongue and mention how they have the potential to nuke us in our sleep. i won’t mention any names. can’t we keep a few secrets. do we have to give them the apple bots, too.

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