Why does Apple use different brand parts?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by antolini, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. antolini macrumors newbie

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    Jul 9, 2012
    #1
    Anyone know or have any idea why Apple would use different brand parts for the same model of computer? I.e., Samsung vs. LG vs. AUO screens and Samsung vs. Toshiba SSD? I could understand if all 11" displays were by one brand and all 13" by another but why the crapshoot within the same spec?
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #2
    One supplier probably cannot meet the demand.
     
  3. MikhailT macrumors 601

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    #3
    It's smart to always have more than one supplier for the same part, you don't want to backlog your systems just because one supplier ran out of materials or couldn't produce fast enough. So, to protect against that, Apple's sourcing the parts from multiple suppliers to catch up with the demand.

    Look at the rMBP, they can't produce them fast enough for customers as they're still 2-3 weeks in a huge backlog.

    MBAs are one of their top sellers, they need a huge amount of inventory to build them fast and they can't do it from a single supplier.
     
  4. antolini thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Seems like a sound theory but if the different suppliers are supplying parts of different quality (as this forum's users seem to say, although I don't know for myself) then that's a flaw in my opinion.
     
  5. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #5
    The vast majority of users won't notice the difference between the Toshiba and Samsung SSDs. Both are blazingly fast and significantly faster than the hard drives that most buyers are used to. The vast majority of users also won't notice the difference between the two screens.
     
  6. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Your mistake is coming to a conclusion based on the number of people who start threads on MR complaining about so called differences in performance or quality. They are a very small percentage of MR members and an infinitesimally small percentage of 2012 MBA owners.
     
  7. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #7
    It's never good to only have one supplier. Think about it. What happens if that supplier has a problem at their factory? Such as what happened with hard drives just a short time ago.
     
  8. silverjam macrumors regular

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    #8
    They need to create competition between suppliers to make them produce cutting edge stuff. One supplier is never innovative as the former USSR showed us.
     
  9. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #9
    All of the posts above are good and valid reasons, but the main reason is for cost saving. They play their different suppliers against each other to get the best possible prices.
     
  10. MikhailT macrumors 601

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    #10
    Not really, Apple get the main savings from the huge bulk of inventory they buy and lock in for a long time. Suppliers want consistent long term contracts more than short term uncertainties. Apple would gladly pay a bit more to get all the inventory at just one supplier, it ensures a consistent experience and testing environment for their hardware but no supplier does at the rate that Apple keeps growing.

    While the contract may indicate the price savings over certain period of time, they're not going to drop the prices out of nowhere just because a different supplier steps in.
     
  11. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #11
    So all of the publications that have written articles on this are lying?
     
  12. Puevlo macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Apple don't actual test the panels before taking out a long term contract with the suppliers. This way if the parts turn out to be bogus at least they have a backup.
     
  13. robvas macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Chevy uses more than one supplier for car tires!
     
  14. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Apple is not so foolish as to have a single source for any part. Yes, they might get a lower price by having competition between suppliers, but the bigger benefit of having multiple suppliers is it spreads risk.
     
  15. MikhailT macrumors 601

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    #15
    ?
    http://www.appleinsider.com/article..._to_secret_long_term_component_contracts.html

    We hear about Apple signing long term contracts all the time in the past few years, and it was bought up a few times in their conference calls. I'm not sure what publications you're talking about.

    ----------

    If you read my previous post, you'd see what I already said the last part. My point is that if there were no risks, Apple would love to just have one single supplier but reality kicks in and there's no way to do that.
     
  16. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #16
    I am talking about the Wall Street Journal.

    Don Clark - Under the Hood of Apple's Tablet

    It looks as though we are all correct. Of course it's about minimising risk, but the main desire is to lower prices.
     
  17. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

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    #17
    That's like saying if pigs had wings they could fly. They don't, so they can't. A single supplier will always present risk, and not just the risk of a supply disruption.
     
  18. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #18
    I can say for the 2011 models that if you put two beside each other with stock profiles, you can. I was able to put my LG beside a store's Samsung display and the difference in contrast was pretty damned obvious. They immediately replaced the LG and gave me.....another LG! Oooh....snake eyes!

    Of course, you can really minimize the difference with going on the forum and finding a profile posted by a true geek with a spyder or other professional hardware and tweaking it a bit under expert options.

    After the brouhaha over these screens last year, I'm surprised the difference is being reported again in 2012. Maybe it's because Steve Jobs is no longer around to twist a knot in the supplier's :censored:.
     
  19. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #19
    Most people aren't going to do that. I had a Samsung screen for all of a week when I bought my 2010. It had a defective logic board and so I exchanged it. While it was nicer side by side, the LG is fine for the average user and the sales bear it out.

    I have a Spyder 3. It helps a little.

    Tim Cook was/is the one squeezing the supply chain. My guess is that he wants to maintain good relations with LG and Sharp because, unlike Samsung, those companies aren't in serious competition with Apple. Samsung outsells Apple smartphones and also is producing 13" and 15" premium Ultrabooks that are aimed directly at the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro. They make nice parts for Apple, but I'm sure Tim Cook would like to reduce the company's reliance upon them.
     
  20. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #20
    Er, except the flooding in Thailand hit the hard drive industry more or less across the board. The damage wasn't limited to just one supplier.
     
  21. comatose81 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    The same reason Amazon and other companies user a mix of delivery companies (UPS, DHL, USPS) to ship products. Sure, most customers would prefer that they just stick to UPS, but if they were to do that, and UPS' union decides that they need a $14 billion pension plan instead of $13.9 billion and goes on strike, then what? They go crawling to another company, who knows they are desperate and turns the screws on them.
     
  22. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #22
    Er, my point was that there should have been suppliers not just in Thailand but in other parts of the world..
     
  23. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #23
    The first point, I grant you is a bit subjective. But I could definitely tell a difference between the 2011 samsungs and lg's. My old (well, okay-middle aged) eyes could tell a difference between the two on stock profiles. And any improvement on the stock profiles is a help.

    But I enjoyed your well reasoned, well written refutation of my post-it was my pleasure for you to disagree with me!

    Cheers!
     
  24. Beanoir macrumors 6502a

    Beanoir

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    #24
    ^This
     
  25. calvol macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    It's called "multi-sourcing"-- ensures sufficient supply and keeps prices in check by playing off one supplier against other. Every OEM computer manufacturer does it to increase (maintain) margins.
     

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