Apple and the 10,000 CNC milling machines

Apple lives in one world, says a seed venture capitalist, the rest of us live in another.

From Apple is an exception to nearly every rule by Bolt's Haje Jan Kemps, posted Wednesday on TechCrunch:

When designing the new unibody Macbook Pro, Apple’s designers had a very specific design in mind. In almost every other company, the design team would have been told by the manufacturing team that what they wanted to do wouldn’t be possible.

Here’s what manufacturing would say: “The only way to accomplish what you’ve designed is to use a CNC mill. That doesn’t scale! We would need thousands of the damn things!”

At Apple, with its mountain of cash, that turns out not to be a limiting factor. If the designers want something, they’ll have it, even if that means buying 10,000 CNC mills to scale manufacturing or buying the entire output of a laser-drilling manufacturer (and later buying the whole company), because Apple needed the entire world’s supply of that particular type of laser.

My take: An old anecdote, but a good one. He's got a fresh one here about Apple's cardboard packaging.

Below: Apple showing off its CNC mills in 2013.

One Comment

  1. Ken Cheng said:
    Great article. Good advice for startups and a great reminder that only Apple is Apple, because Steve empowered the designers and engineers over the salespeople and bean counters in the org hierarchy.

    March 22, 2018

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