Adam Satariano, Bloomberg:
The spending, which Apple outlined in its fiscal 2014 capital-expenditure forecast, underscores how the world’s most valuable company is diving deeper into designing and inventing technology for its manufacturing process. Apple is increasingly striking exclusive machinery deals, said the people familiar with the work, outspending peers on the tools that it then places in the factories of its suppliers, many of which are in Asia.
“Their designs are so unique that you have to have a very unique manufacturing process to make it,” said Muthuraman Ramasamy, an analyst with consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, who has studied the use of the machinery. “Apple has so much cash that they can invest in cutting-edge, world-class machinery that is typically used for aerospace and defense.”
There are some fascinating details in this story about the custom machinery Apple buys — and even builds — in order to create products with superlative fit and finish.1 This is one of the things which separates Apple from the rest. Innovation is not purely about coming up with new features, but also implementing those features, and Apple (typically) excels in the execution of their ideas.