Canvas Category OEM : Computer and Electronic

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Primary Location Cupertino, California, United States

Financial Status NASDAQ: AAPL

Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company that specializes in consumer electronics, computer software and online services. Apple is the largest information technology company by revenue and, since January 2021, the world’s most valuable company. As of 2021, Apple is the fourth-largest PC vendor by unit sales and fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer.

Assembly Line

Apple plans to automate 50% of iPhone assembly using AI and robotics

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: Apple, DarwinAI, Drishti

According to a new report, Apple is working on automating its iPhone assembly lines, aiming to reduce the human workforce by up to 50% in the coming years. This decision, driven by both operational challenges and the pursuit of greater efficiency, has far-reaching implications for the tech giant’s supply chain and the global labor market.

Apple’s automation strategy involves reviving and investing heavily in previously shelved projects due to high upfront costs. These efforts have already started to bear fruit, particularly in the production of the iPhone 15, where a significant amount of the assembly process has been automated. Peter Thompson, Apple’s vice president of operations, has been pivotal in these efforts, working closely with manufacturing partners like Foxconn, Luxshare Precision, and Pegatron.

Apple’s automation efforts have been bolstered by strategic acquisitions, such as DarwinAI and Drishti. DarwinAI specializes in inspecting components like printed circuit boards for defects, while Drishti provides technology to identify production bottlenecks in real-time. These acquisitions have enhanced Apple’s capability to implement and manage automated processes more effectively.

Read more at iTD

Apple Watch to Use 3D Printing Components in Upcoming Models

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🔖 Topics: Partnership, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Apple, Bright Laser Technologies

Starting later this year (2nd half of 2024), some components in the Apple Watch will be manufactured using 3D printing technology. This comes after Apple’s growing confidence in 3D printing for mass production.

While Apple experimented with 3D printing for the Apple Watch Series 9 last year, it wasn’t mass-produced. Extensive testing during that time seems to have significantly improved the efficiency of 3D printing for large-scale manufacturing.

Bright Laser Technologies (BLT) is now supplying the 3D-printed components for the Apple Watch, a shift from its role as an equipment supplier last year.

The cost advantages of 3D printing seem to have been a major factor in Apple’s decision. With successful implementation, BLT’s shipments of 3D-printed components are expected to grow in the coming years.

Read more at MacObserver

I Visited Apple's Secret iPhone Testing Labs!

Inside Apple’s efforts to build a better recycling robot

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✍️ Author: Brian Heater

🔖 Topics: Recycling

🏭 Vertical: Computer and Electronic

🏢 Organizations: Apple

Daisy significantly reduces Liam’s overall footprint from 29 robots across 100 feet to four primary modules, while increasing the number of material output streams from 8 to 15. The biggest improvement is the increase in compatibility from a single iPhone model (the 6 in the case of Liam 2.0) to several. Apple has continually updated that figure in the 7.5 years since Daisy arrived. The robot now handles 29 different models, up from 18 a year and a half ago.

The stark difference in cycle times between Liam 1.0 and Daisy is due, in part, to a fundamental rethink of the separation process. Whereas the first robot gingerly unscrewed the various components, newer versions take a kind of brute force approach. The robots “punch out” the component now. Turns out it’s significantly faster to effectively rip a phone apart, and while the result is a lot less pretty, no one cares what discarded phones look like. It’s not being refurbished, after all; it’s being melted down.

Apple sees Daisy as a kind of ambassador for its recycling efforts. It not nearly where it needs to be in terms of speed and efficiency, but it’s something headline grabbing that puts more eyes on the company’s end-of-life efforts. “One metric ton of material recovered from Daisy prevents 2,000 metric tons of mining,” Chandler says.

Read more at TechCrunch

Apple Buys Canadian AI Startup as It Races to Add Features

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🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏢 Organizations: Apple, DarwinAI, University of Waterloo

Apple Inc. has acquired Canadian artificial intelligence startup DarwinAI, adding technology to its arsenal ahead of a big push into generative AI in 2024. The iPhone maker purchased the business earlier this year, and dozens of DarwinAI’s employees have joined Apple’s artificial intelligence division.

DarwinAI has developed AI technology for visually inspecting components during the manufacturing process and serves customers in a range of industries. But one of its core technologies is making artificial intelligence systems smaller and faster. That work that could be helpful to Apple, which is focused on running AI on devices rather than entirely in the cloud.

Read more at Bloomberg

How Apple’s New Robot Will (Actually) Change The World

Luxshare Acquires Leadership of Pegatron’s Kunshan Plant, Challenging Foxconn’s Dominance on iPhone Assembly?

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏢 Organizations: Luxshare, Pegatron, Apple

Chinese iPhone assembly contractor Luxshare Precision is set to officially acquire the controlling stake of Pegaglobe (Kunshan), the iPhone assembly plant under Pegatron. This series of acquisitions will provide Luxshare with a stronger competitive advantage against Foxconn. Concurrently, Luxshare is reinforcing its component layout to enhance its capability to expand iPhone orders.

Following the acquisition of Wistron’s Jiangsu and Kunshan plant, Luxshare has now secured the controlling stake of Pegaglobe (Kunshan), a subsidiary of Pegatron. This marks another acquisition of China’s plants involved in manufacturing iPhone for Taiwanese companies.

Read more at Trend Force

Japan's TDK Corp to manufacture iPhone battery cells in India

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🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏢 Organizations: Apple, TDK Corp, Sunwoda Electronics

Japanese electronic parts maker TDK Corp will manufacture lithium ion (li-ion) battery cells for Apple iPhones in India. TDK will set up a manufacturing facility in the northern state of Haryana, creating several thousand new jobs, Deputy Minister for Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on social media platform X. Cells manufactured at the facility will be supplied to Apple’s li-ion battery assembler Sunwoda Electronics, the report added.

Read more at Reuters

Apple promotes commercialization of self-developed batteries in 2025

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🏭 Vertical: Computer and Electronic

🏢 Organizations: Apple

Apple aims to develop a whole new battery that has significantly increased performance than ever before by participating in direct development from the materials that make up the battery, such as bipolar and cathode. Apple plans to innovate from this material and create a battery that has never been commercialized around the world. Apple’ industry official said “As the mobile user experience expands with the metaverse and mixed reality (MR), etc., the demand for high-performance batteries increases”, “Apple seems to be holding the ball from the material development stage to boost battery performance ” said.

Read more at ETNews

🖨️ Apple Tests Using 3D Printers to Make Devices in Major Manufacturing Shift

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✍️ Author: Mark Gurman

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏭 Vertical: Computer and Electronic

🏢 Organizations: Apple

The new technique uses a type of 3D printing called binder jetting to create the device’s general outline at close to its actual size, or what is known in manufacturing as the “near net shape.” The print is made with a powdered substance, which afterward goes through a process called sintering. That uses heat and pressure to squeeze the material into what feels like traditional steel. The exact design and cutouts are then milled like in the previous process.

Apple and its suppliers have been quietly developing the technique for at least three years. The work is still nascent and, for the time being, will be reserved for lower-volume products. Most Apple Watch casings are aluminum, not stainless steel. The company hasn’t made headway on mass-producing 3D-printed enclosures with that material, which is also used for Macs and iPads, as well as lower-end iPhones. But the company is discussing bringing materials that can be 3D-printed, like steel and titanium, to more devices.

Read more at Bloomberg

Apple will use 3D printing to make Apple Watch Ultra mechanical parts

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✍️ Author: William Gallagher

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing

🏢 Organizations: Apple

The next edition of the Apple Watch Ultra will feature titanium mechanical parts where some have been produced by 3D printing to save time and cost, says analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Apple is not likely to be turning to consumer 3D printers for the new Apple Watch Ultra, but reportedly it will be moving away from its regular CNC machining process, at least in part. Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) is the process of taking CAD designs and automatically manufacturing the parts by cutting at the material.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple will continue to use CNC and that it will even be used to finish off elements of the 3D printed mechanical parts. But by moving to 3D printing, Kuo says that Apple can speed up the time taken for production — while simultaneously cutting down on costs.

Read more at Apple Insider

🖨️ How Will The Apple Reality Pro Headset Boost 3D Printing?

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✍️ Author: Michael Molitch-Hou

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Computer and Electronic

🏢 Organizations: Optomec, Apple, Meta

While most AR/VR companies certainly rely on 3D printing to some extent, at least at the level of product design, Apple’s latest product, specifically, may kickstart a niche segment of the industry known as “additively manufactured electronics (AMEs).” To those who have been following the 3D printing industry, the most obvious method for squeezing electronics into small spaces is to use AMEs. With 3D printing, it’s possible to spray conductive traces onto curved surfaces using a technology called Aerosol Jet, from Optomec, which allows electronic features to be incorporated into the structure of a product, rather than force entirely separate components into already tight spaces.

The Sandia National Labs spinout has sold Aerosol Jet printers to Google, Meta, Samsung and has all-but-confirmed that Apple is using the process, as well. By 2016, Taiwanese manufacturer Lite-On Mobile used these systems to spray antennas onto millions of mobile phones before its then-senior manager of Technology Development for Antennas, Henrik Johansson, left to work for Apple.

However, it isn’t Aerosol Jet alone that may be used by these companies to shrink devices. In December 2022, Meta acquired optics firm Luxexcel with a goal of using its lens printing process to create AR glasses. Luxexcel’s method produces optically clear polymers with the ability to integrate waveguides, necessary for transparent displays, into its lenses. It’s no coincidence then that the social media-turned-metaverse giant will be releasing the newest version of its Quest Pro headset late this year, a device said to rival Apple’s Reality Pro.

Read more at Forbes

Apple announces multibillion-dollar deal with Broadcom for components made in the USA

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🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏢 Organizations: Apple, Broadcom

Today Apple announced a new multiyear, multibillion-dollar agreement with Broadcom, a leading U.S. technology and advanced manufacturing company. Through this collaboration, Broadcom will develop 5G radio frequency components — including FBAR filters — and cutting-edge wireless connectivity components. The FBAR filters will be designed and built in several key American manufacturing and technology hubs, including Fort Collins, Colorado, where Broadcom has a major facility.

Read more at Apple Newsroom

Why The U.S. Fell Behind In Phone Manufacturing

Apple's Ingenious Plan To Become Carbon Neutral

Liam - An Innovation Story

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Charissa Rujanavech, Joe Lessard, Sarah Chandler, Sean Shannon, Jeffrey Dahmus, Rob Guzzo

🔖 Topics: Recycling

🏭 Vertical: Computer and Electronic

🏢 Organizations: Apple

The electronic waste (e-waste) pre-processing recycling industry is primarily based on high volume-shredding, which limits the quantity and quality of materials that can be recovered. Liam is an Apple R&D project focused on new disassembly technologies. It utilizes a fully autonomous, clean take-apart process to liberate and separate individual components for speciality material recycling. The automated disassembly system was custom built for the iPhone 6 with the ability to disassemble 1.2 million iPhone units per year. The output components from Liam are used for investigations in end-processing recycling technologies to recover materials that cannot be recovered at desired scale or purity today. Liam represents Apple’s investment in pre-processing technologies. Further innovation is required—both at Apple and in the broader industry.

Read more at Apple Environment