Apple Developing More In-House Tech?

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Appleinsider reports that Apple is planning on personally developing more individual components used in its iPod product line.

In working to develop some of its own component solutions -- rather than continue to license them from others -- Apple hopes to gain more control over the iPod and shave costs at the same time. These costs saving measures are likely to be reflected in slightly higher margins for Apple and lower iPod costs for the end consumer.
Appleinsider points to the iPod scroll wheel as one component which will be developed by Apple in-house. Of note, Apple also moved towards its own track-pad technology in the Powerbook and iBook lines.

Apple is reportedly planning on offering user-replacable batteries in an upcoming iPod line.

Historically, Apple had a similar approach to in-house development of technologies for the Macintosh product line. However, in recent years, Apple has moved away from such an approach and has incorporated standard PC components and technologies into the Mac line. Whether the economics/scale for the iPod line is fundamentally different remains to be seen.
 

LaMerVipere

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2004
971
0
Chicago
What's the real gain here? Was there something Synaptics wasn't giving them that Apple really felt they needed?

Then there's the problem if malfunctioning. We all remember the trackpad woes when Apple first debuted their trackpad design on powerbooks. It would suck to have the same situation repeated as the 5th generation iPod rolls out the door to thunderous applause, and lots of eager first adopters.

Apple just loves to kick around the third parties. *sigh*
 

narco

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2003
1,155
0
California.
All I hear is "lower cost for the consumer."
Let's just hope they come out with an 80 or 100 GB iPod soon, I already filled my 60GB and I am going crazy trying to figure out what songs I don't want on my iPod. I HAVE to have everything otherwise I go completely nuts!

Fishes,
narco.
 

macnews

macrumors 6502a
May 12, 2003
601
2
Idaho
potential problems exist no matter who you go with. Also, unlike a pc these are components that are not likely to be user replaced (i.e. a graphics card or ram). Plus, the components Apple may need to really put out a better iPod may not exist as they really need it. Thus, making their own in house solution would be better than just rolling out iPods with bigger hard drives. Honestly, what new features would be revolutionary? Perhaps video, but others like FM radio, voice recorder are nothing new as they are done by third party people.

I say build the next great idea in house if that means cheaper prices. And Apple isn't really known for poor quality products. Yes, they have had some major mistakes but in general have better quality control.
 

michaelrjohnson

macrumors 68020
Aug 9, 2000
2,174
1
53132
Interesting. I suppose this gives them more direct control over innovation on the iPod line, which I think is a good thing. It gives them an opportunity to innovate faster, to stay ahead of the competition.

Also, it would seem to be more of a supplier shift than a supplier 'boot'. So Apple is going to bring some iPod tech design in-house, but they're not going to use IBM as a contractor to fabricate G5s. (Assuming Apple uses a non-customized Intel processor) Maybe it's a wash?
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
You can't say Apple should ALWAYS outsource everything, nor ALWAYS make their own.

They should do what makes sense in each case. Outsourcing to get the iPod into the market quickly made sense. But maybe now they can make their own for lower cost, or alternative/innovative features/designs, or even both. What's wrong with that?

Just because Apple placed big profitable orders from a company in the past doesn't commit them to using that company forever even when it no longer makes sense. And Synaptic was not deceived about that--they've been warning their investors of this risk for some time.

And you also can't say that Apple's own designs fail while outsourced components are reliable. I have no numbers, but my impression is the opposite. Problems with Apple products are very OFTEN failures of outsourced components. I see no reason to avoid an Apple product just because Apple moved more of it in-house. If anything, that lets them take more risks and innovate. Some of those little detail risks don't turn out well (yo-yo power adapter?), but thank goodness there's a company that will take them.
 

_bnkr612

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2004
619
0
narco said:
All I hear is "lower cost for the consumer."
Let's just hope they come out with an 80 or 100 GB iPod soon, I already filled my 60GB and I am going crazy trying to figure out what songs I don't want on my iPod. I HAVE to have everything otherwise I go completely nuts!

Fishes,
narco.
So how did you fit all your music on a CD player before iPods were around. I am sure you can find a way to put music you actually listen to on your 60. Unless you are going around the world so many times you need 15,000 songs to only listen to each one with out repeating.

I am starting to think your house might have large stacks of magazines and newspapers.

Hmm...
 

Aeronautical

macrumors member
May 8, 2005
50
0
London
Apple are shifting so many ipods (and will continue to do so I think) that any saving (even a small one) on component production costs will multiply into something like a sizeable (if not huge) additional profit. Whether development costs will spiral if Apple goes down this line remains to be seen, but I think that the ipod is so key now that they will put everything into it's success, especially if the more of the reward finds it's way back to Apple.
 

Bonte

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2002
926
139
Bruges, Belgium
.

This system of proprietary materials have failed in the world of computers but is perfect for consumer goods that has to do just one thing but do it good.
 

swissmann

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2003
781
28
The Utah Alps
I can't prove it really but it seems like the more they outsourced their Macs the lower quality dropped. My old LC still runs great but more recent iMacs have died in much less time. I've also had a number of new computers need repairs immediately. Still quality is relatively very good and repair under warranty is relatively painless with a few Apple Retailers in town. But improved quality and lower cost is always a good step forward.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors 604
May 28, 2005
7,982
531
Pennsylvania
OMG OMG OMG User replacable batteries???? I think hell just froze over..I mean, honestly...pigs were flying when they released the 3 button mouse, but Ahhhh!!! OMG OMG OMG!!! This would be a good excuse to upgrade my ipod...as of now the battery only lasts...5 monutes? i think. I just ordered a new one off ebay, but damn...that would be sweet.

I dont much care about the rest of the post.
 

w_parietti22

macrumors 68020
Apr 16, 2005
2,499
1
Seattle, WA
LaMerVipere said:
Who says it's going to be better quality?
Nobody... Im just assuming that it would be. If Apple is both designing and creating the products for the iPod it will be up to Apple's standards instead of the 3rd parties.
 

JustAnotherLogI

macrumors newbie
Aug 8, 2005
1
0
Worried about nothing

The choice of the word component is a bit misleading. Apple Insider is talking mostly about scroll wheel and track pad assemblies which have been used in iPods and laptops. It is no surprised that if Apple wants to innovate that they will need to design their own interface assemblies rather than purchased them off the shelf. Clearly the Mighty Mouse, as seen in these photos, and Keyboards are not re-branded inputs devices so why should scroll wheel and trackpads?

I believe this rumor first surfaced in February of this year too. Maybe it is surfacing again because actual product announcements are nearing.
 

elook

macrumors newbie
Jun 13, 2005
11
0
"User replaceable" meaning that a user can easily replace it, as opposed to using a putty knife and directions found on a mac weblog. Think an iBook style slip in and lock battery or something similar.
 

michaelrjohnson

macrumors 68020
Aug 9, 2000
2,174
1
53132
elook said:
"User replaceable" meaning that a user can easily replace it, as opposed to using a putty knife and directions found on a mac weblog. Think an iBook style slip in and lock battery or something similar.
No, I understand. thejadedmonkey just said that he purchased a battery via eBay. I just wanted to inform about the new replacement batteries from NewerTech.
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,242
1
Washington D.C
This is good, i hope this makes iPod cheaper and if some compnay help apple fail then apple does not suffer becuz they make there own needs( or more of them) The battery thing if nice, looks like apple is adding a few need things
 

narco

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2003
1,155
0
California.
_bnkr612 said:
So how did you fit all your music on a CD player before iPods were around. I am sure you can find a way to put music you actually listen to on your 60. Unless you are going around the world so many times you need 15,000 songs to only listen to each one with out repeating.

I am starting to think your house might have large stacks of magazines and newspapers.

Hmm...
I never said I listened to all of the music on my iPod, the point is that I can listen to whatever I want whenever I feel like it. If I put my iPod on shuffle, hear a song I haven't heard in a couple years and then want to listen to the entire album, I can do that. Of course I don't listen to all my music continuously.

It's also dumb to compare the iPod to making a CD. I had to carry a bunch of CDs with me, but the iPod has made that easier. It's like comparing a computer with a calculator.

Not exactly sure what the point of your last remark is. If I was one of those people who had stacks of magazines and newspapers in my apartment, it's safe to assume that I'd also be a total hermit. However, if that were the case then I wouldn't need an iPod with more space since I could just buy a hard drive and listen to my many gigs of music on my computer.

What a dumb comment.

Fishes,
narco.
 

gekko513

macrumors 603
Oct 16, 2003
6,302
1
Sounds great since it could mean cheaper and more competitive iPods. I also like that they focus on improving the battery capacity and solution, which is one of the key features of the iPod, instead of trying to throw in more unnecessary features.
 

hyperpasta

macrumors 6502a
Aug 1, 2005
680
0
New Jersey
Who Cares???

While it means the the iPods will have a teensy bit more bang for the buck, nothing else will come of it.

HOLY CRAP! :eek: 5G iPods! :eek: That's the big news here! And they're coming late this year, which means probably BEFORE iTunes 5 (which will probably be part of iLife '06). So far we have: more battery life, user-replacable battery, in-house scroll wheel. An OK update, but there must be more too it. I hope they aren't too good compared to my brand new 20GB Color :D ...
 

Whyren

macrumors 6502a
922 said:
While it means the the iPods will have a teensy bit more bang for the buck, nothing else will come of it.

HOLY CRAP! :eek: 5G iPods! :eek: That's the big news here! And they're coming late this year, which means probably BEFORE iTunes 5 (which will probably be part of iLife '06). So far we have: more battery life, user-replacable battery, in-house scroll wheel. An OK update, but there must be more too it. I hope they aren't too good compared to my brand new 20GB Color :D ...
How does this AppleInsider article confirm the 5G iPod in any way?
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2003
4,771
2,793
narco said:
All I hear is "lower cost for the consumer."
I really don't think the price of the iPod is set by the components-- it's set by the market. As long as Apple clears the warehouse, there's no reason to cut prices.

Besides, unless Apple has decided to start making their own hard drives, I don't think they're going to have a huge impact on the price of the unit. How much can you really save in the click wheel?