Over the years Patently Apple has archived a decent list of Apple's patents covering processes and materials that illustrate how they've invented some of their own machinery and processes for making iOS products better and more efficiently. In March we reported that Apple invented an advanced plenoptic camera system to assist in the manufacturing of quality products. In May we reported that two Apple patent filings illustrated their fanatical attention to detail in making iDevices just right. And in August we reported on Apple's fanatical attention to detail in processes for the Milanese watch band and beyond. Earlier this week Tim Bajarin of Tech.pinions posted a report titled "Apple's Little-known (and somewhat unsexy) Secret to Success," a report focused on acknowledging Apple's industry leading supply chain and the level of detail that Apple puts into that processes that includes designing their own specialty equipment that they get their partners to implement when making Apple products.
Tim Cook's claim to fame at Apple was creating Apple's world class supply chain for the company and it's likely what drove Apple to their success over the years. Yes, Apple needed the vision and drive that the late Steve Jobs brought to table, but bringing those ideas to life took a deadly focused supply chain who was able to crank up the volume and quality that would propel products like the iPhone and iPad to leaders in their respecting categories. Tim Cook spent a decade fine tuning this beast.
The report noted that "Apple stands above most in this area because, if they can't find the right equipment to make a product, they actually invent and/or create the equipment, either with the help of a partner or they do it themselves.
This extension of their technical prowess is critical to Apple's success. In 2013, Apple worked with a key supplier to customize robots to manufacture new iPhones and iPads and spent about $10.5 billion to create these special tools."
The Tech.pinion reporter further noted that "various ODM and manufacturing equipment makers and many have told me Apple's real secret to success is how deep they go into the overall manufacturing process.
Very few companies go to that level of detail when it comes to their supply chain. Besides Intel, Apple is one of the only other major tech companies I know of that will actually invent the manufacturing equipment needed to bring a new product to market. Most others accept the limitations of the equipment and instead design the product around the things these machines can do with as little customization as possible.
But this type of thinking also underscores Apple's overall attention to detail when it comes to creating a product critical to their ecosystem. Apple's designers are at the heart of their products but I see their counterparts who manage the supply chain and the manufacturing of their products as equal stars in Apple's success." For more on this story, click here
Although we've known this for years, it's always great when other tech writers finally acknowledge Apple's depth of invention. To review more of Apple's inventions as they relate to new processes or specialty equipment, check out our extensive archives here.
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