Apple's spending billions on robots and lasers to get the jump on Samsung

iRobots holing up in the MacBook lair

TODO alt text

Cupertino's been investing in some new gadgets, but nothing with an i-prefix for you to start queuing for: Apple is spending $10.5 billion on robots, lasers and other production line tech to get the jump on Samsung.

The new gizmos are said to include a polishing machine specially for the iPhone 5C's plastic casing, lasers and million machines which are used to craft the MacBook body and camera testing equipment for the iPhone and iPad lenses.

The anonymous sources told Bloomberg that Apple has also been working on a number of exclusive machinery deals, effectively cock-blocking Samsung from getting its hands on the same tools.

While Apple's dropping $10.5 billion over the next financial years, Samsung has reportedly put $22 billion aside for the same purpose.

Factory floor

Apple is traditionally very protective of its manufacturing processes. The supply chain sources explained that most companies create a prototype and then send it to the (usually overseas) manufacturing plants to come up with the process for mass producing it.

Apple, however, hires experts and sends engineers over to Asia to test and ensure the process runs smoothly, as well as inventing equipment to do jobs that existing machines can't do.

It's not often that we get a glimpse into Apple's processes, but Bloomberg's chatty insider was very forthcoming with the production line anecdotes: when creating the iPhone 4 back in 2010, there was no machine to test certain gyroscope functions, so Apple engineers created one.

Bloomberg's source explained: "The resulting contraption has a granite base and cubes that spin several iPhones around 30 degrees a second to test that the movement-tracking technology is functioning. Apple then had enough of the machines made to place at the end of suppliers' assmebly lines in China for iPhones to run through."