Apple is the world’s foremost manufacturer of goods. At one time, this statement had to be caged and qualified with modifiers such as “consumer goods” or “electronic goods,” but last quarter, Apple shipped a Boeing 787’s weight worth of iPhones every 24 hours. When we add the rest of the product line to the mix, it becomes clear that Apple’s supply chain is one of the largest scale production organizations in the world.
While Boeing is happy to provide tours of their Everett, WA facility, Apple continues to operate with Willy Wonka levels of secrecy. In the manufacturing world, we hear rumors of entire German CNC mill factories being built to supply Apple exclusively, or even occasionally hear that one of our supplier’s process experts has been “disappeared” to move to Cupertino or Shenzhen. While we all are massively impressed with the scale of Apple’s operations, there is constant intrigue as to exactly how they pull it all off with the level of fit, finish and precision obvious to anyone who has examined their hardware.
This New Yorker article about Jony Ive and Apple’s design studio is nothing short of amazing and full of design porn:
To our left was an open kitchen with tables and benches, a vintage Faema espresso machine, and a wall of books that included “100 Superlative Rolex Watches” and a study of Joe Colombo, the designer best known for his round-cornered Kartell storage carts. The kitchen flowed into an area of individual workstations. To our right was a brightly lit room where a dozen oak worktables stood, in tidy formation, on a polished-concrete floor.
Now all but a few tables were covered in sheets of gray silk, and I knew only that that future would be no taller than an electric kettle.
And downright brilliant observation:
Jobs and Ive had different dispositions, but perhaps shared a lack of social smoothness, and it seems fitting that one of their great joint achievements was to give digital distractions to people forced to ride in elevators with nodding acquaintances.
This is one of the best inside profiles of Ive and Apple culture that I’ve ever read. The New Yorker and the profile author, Ian Parker, have tackled something the tech press have not: How Apple, always an experiential brand, arrives at the experiences it makes and the profile does it without revealing a damn thing about future products or indulging bullshit. Very well done and worth the read.
Last week’s rollout of iOS 8.1 on new iPhone models ushered in the long-awaited debut of Apple Pay. And for now, Apple is relying on major retailers—and their upgraded, compatible sales registers—to convince more people to pay the Apple way.
Link: Retailers are disabling NFC readers to shut out Apple Pay
Even more detail about the move of heavy hitter retailers to circumvent Apple Pay, Google Wallet and credit card processing fees:
“There’s a lot of hype around Apple Pay right now, but not everyone is on board with the new mobile payments system. In fact, a significant number of merchants, including heavyweights like Walmart, Kmart, 7-Eleven, and Best Buy, are in outright competition with Apple Pay.”
Link: CVS Stores Reportedly Disabling NFC to Shut Down Apple Pay and Google Wallet
“It now appears that fellow major pharmacy chain CVS is following suit and as of today is shutting down the NFC functionality of its payment terminals entirely, a move presumably intended to thwart Apple Pay. Google Wallet services are obviously also being affected by the move.”
My fellow podcast host, John Moltz has a great piece up on Macworld.com:
If you regularly listen to Apple’s quarterly conference call, Tim Cook’s repeated use of the term “customer sat” for “customer satisfaction” is probably a well-worn square on your bingo card. Apple’s customer satisfaction numbers are the envy of the technology world—and probably several other worlds—and Cook is rightly proud of that fact. Turns out owning your customer experience pays off.