Claim: Bad MacBook Air design drives cost up


Whatever your feelings on the MacBook Air - underpowered fancy Dan or a gorgeous lust bauble - it's an undeniably superb feat of engineering. Or is it? A team of Japanese engineers has other ideas.

Working with Nikkei Publications on a MacBook Air teardown, a crack team of engineers from unnamed Japanese PC makers came to the conclusion that Mr Jobs' finest has a "perfect, sophisticated external appearance, but its insides are full of waste."

Wasteful design

Staggeringly, the assembled nerds discovered that the Air has been built with so much redundancy it has ended up far more expensive than it needs to be. They found, for example, a wasteful 30 screws used just to secure the keyboard and unnecessarily complex hinges.

Even better for Apple's would-be competitors in the ultra-light space, all "found the structure hard to comprehend." One was so shocked at the waste inside the machine, he said, "If I proposed such a design, our company would never approve it."

Another added: "I can't find anything that is technically superior. We can make the same computer at a lower cost."

Factory on auto pilot

As for why the MacBook Air should be so oddly designed, the group speculated that Apple simply handed the blueprints to the Taiwanese manufacturer, Hon Hai Precision Industry, and asked it to make the computer exactly according to spec.

Typically, manufacturing plants provide on-the-job feedback about new hardware and refine the design as they go - something Apple likely didn't do, according to the report.

If the Japanese experts are to be believed, it seems Apple has plenty of wriggle room should it want to either improve the MacBook Air or - more likely - make a far cheaper second model sometime next year.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.