Overview / Main Features
The Apple MacBook under analysis here is the entry-level notebook computer offered by Apple for just under $1000. This specific model of the MacBook features a polycarbonate unibody construction inspired by the MacBook Pro line of aluminum unibody enclosure. In comparison to the 13.3 inch MacBook Pro, the MacBook has very similar specification with the exception of enclosure material and the exclusion of the SD card reader and Firewire800 port. Overall, the white polycarbonate laptop features a ubiquitous Intel design (2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo) along with a now-common Nvidia 9400M chipset (across most of Apple's product line) and 2GB of DDR3 memory. Storage is provided by a 250GB 2.5 inch hard drive and a slot loading 8x DVD+/-RW drive. Just as with the 13-in MacBook Pro, the new polycarbonate MacBook features a glass multi-touch trackpad which is over-sized as a consequence of eliminating any physical buttons from the input device.
Mainstream Laptop Consumer
Per press releases, this specific model of the MacBook was introduced October 2009.
Pricing and Availability
Pricing - Based on the configuration of the device under analysis, the Apple MacBook retails for $999 directly from Apple.com.
Availability - assumed global (availability details on store.apple.com)
For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 1M units.
As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed, volumes increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis.
Main Cost Drivers Representing ~80% of total materials cost
Intel - AW80577SH0513MA - CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P7550, 2.26GHz, 3MB L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm
LG Philips - LP133WX2-TLG1 - Display Module Value Line Item - 13.3'Diagonal, 262K Color TFT, 1280 x 800 Pixels, LED Backlight
A1331 - Battery Pack - Li-Ion Polymer, 10.95V, 5480mAh, 60Wh
Panasonic Communications Co., Ltd. - UJ-898 - CD/DVD RW Drive Drive - 8 x Slot-loading
Nvidia - MCP79MXT-B3 - Chipset - GeForce 9400M G, 55nm
Samsung Semiconductor - M471B2873EH1-CF8 - SODIMM DDR3-1066 - 1GB, 128Mx64 (Qty:2)
Toshiba Semiconductor - MK2555GSXF - Hard Drive - 250GB, 2.5', SATA 3Gb/s, 5400rpm, 8MB Buffer
Broadcom - BCM943224PCIEBT - WLAN / Bluetooth Module Value Line Item - IEEE802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth V2.1+EDR
12-Layer - FR4, Lead Free, Halogen Free
Total BOM Cost $548.45
What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis
The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.
OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing
Apple outsources 100% of their manufacturing to ODM/EMS partners in the far-east. According to the latest iSuppli's "Global OEM Manufacturing and Design Analysis - Compute Platforms, Apple's mobile PC manufacturing partners are split between Quanta, Hon Hai (Foxconn) and Pegatron (Asustek) in approximately 55%, 31% and 14% loadings respectively.
Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions
Based on markings, the unit was assembled in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were sourced in China.
Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as LCD display), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.
Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.
Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity
The Apple MacBook has an overall component count of 1647 (excluding box contents), of which, 368 are mechanical in nature. This complexity metric is on par with most notebook computer platforms we have encountered in the past with the exception of fewer mechanical parts due to the unibody construction.
Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.
Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.
The most significant design feature in the Apple MacBook is its polycarbonate unibody construction. The unibody enclosure design mimics the ground breaking design of the preceding MacBook Pro (which was aluminum) but in plastic form. A magnesium understructure was used in conjunction with the one pice polycarbonate enclosure to provide high structural rigidity as well as to reduce the number of parts in the design.
Other significant designs to note -
Just as with all recent mobile platforms introduced by Apple, the MacBook comes standard with Nvidia's 9400M GPU/Chipset. Apple continues to differentiate from other laptop computer manufacturers by sticking to their own motherboard designs rather than to take a reference design from Intel which relies on bundling of Intel chipsets.
Likewise, Apple has taken a custom design approach to the trackpad by using a Broadcom multitouch controller and propriety software. Whereas mainstream PC manufacturer would likely package a solution provide by Synaptics or Cypress, Apple has full ownership of the design and implementation of this user interface function.
Here is a summary of the major components used in the Apple MacBook design:
- Intel - AW80577SH0513MA - Core 2 Duo Processor P7550, 2.26GHz, 3MB L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm
- Nvidia - MCP79MXT-B3 - GeForce 9400M G, 55nm
- SODIMM Modules - Samsung Semiconductor - M471B2873EH1-CF8 (DDR3-1066 - 1GB, 128Mx64, Quantity 2)
I/O & Interface
- MCU - Renesas - R4F2117LP (16-Bit, H8S/2600 CPU Core, 160KB ROM, 8KB RAM, 20MHz, 3.0 - 3.6V, 112 I/Os)
- Mixed Signal Array w/ On Chip Controller - Cypress Semiconductor - CY8C24794-24LFXI (Programmable SoC, 16K Flash, 1K RAM)
- Codec - Cirrus Logic - CS4206ACNZ
- Ethernet Transceiver - Realtek - RTL8251CA (10/100/1000Base-T)
- LG Philips - LP133WX2-TLG1 - 13.3'Diagonal, 262K Color TFT, 1280 x 800 Pixels, LED Backlight
- Hard Drive - Toshiba Semiconductor - MK2555GSXF (250GB, 2.5', SATA 3Gb/s, 5400rpm, 8MB Buffer)
- CD/DVD RW Drive Drive - Panasonic Communications Co., Ltd. - UJ-898 (8 x Slot-loading)
WLAN / Bluetooth
- Broadcom - BCM943224PCIEBT - IEEE802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth V2.1+EDR
- Multitouch Controller - Broadcom - BCM5974C (Capacitive, 0.13um)