Apple invests whopping $10.5B in manufacturing robots - for new devices?
Apple has a lot of cash, and it is apparently spending $10.5 billion (£6.5 billion) of it on robots for manufacturing.
Bloomberg has reported - citing unnamed people - that Apple wants to be one step ahead of rivals like Samsung, and it plans to do so by spending more money on robot-like machines that can mass produce iPhones, iPhones and other Apple products.
Specifically, the robots can polish the iPhone 5C's plastic back, craft aluminum bodies for Macs, test camera lenses, etc. It seems the company wants to funnel some of the $171 billion it made in sales last year back into the business. But this also means spending is up 61 per cent from 2013 and almost 10-fold from six years ago.
Apple's manufacturing initiative is not so unusual if you look at the company's history of keeping product development as in-house as possible. Creating new machines for factories could just be a way for Apple to stand out from the competition. It's also not the first time Apple has made its own manufacturing tools.
In 2010, when the company built the iPhone 4, Apple engineers designed a machine for the product-development team that could test new gyroscope technology like motion-detection capability for video games. This particular equipment didn't exist before Apple invented it.
So, while critics lambaste Apple for remaining stagnant and not innovative as far as consumer products go, it's apparently spearheading manufacturing innovation and streamlining the ability to make goods more effectively than ever. Bloomberg said Apple is also laying the foundation for new products.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, previously revealed that Apple is working on new devices, and rumours have all pointed to a wristwatch-like wearable device as well as new iPhone designs that'll pick up on heavy or light touches. All of these products - if they ever do come to fruition - will likely benefit from Apple's latest manufacturing investment.