The supply of metal-based chassis for the increasingly trend range of “ultra portable” Windows and Chromebook laptops is experiencing constraints as Apple has reputedly begun to dominate and lock up most of the capacity from worldwide metal suppliers.
Taiwanese technical industry publication DigiTimes (www.digitimes.com) has reported that the metal chassis supply “continues to suffer from shortage” thanks to Apple buying up most of the supplies available for its single body Macbook lineup such as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. The world’s two largest manufacturers of metal notebook chassis, Catcher Technology and Foxconn, have said to be “aggressively establishing new CNC machines” but still say they are unlikely to be able to fulfil all demands made of them until the end of 2012.
Recent sales reports indicate that PC manufacturers have shifted towards creating “ultra-like” notebooks rather than laptops which strictly meet Intel’s specification for classification as an “ultrabook” since the Ultrabooks range has suffered from very weak sales. The switch to the “ultra-like” notebooks has also prompted a shortage of slim panels and similar components, as well as metal chassis, since this style of notebook often features an aluminium sheet style chassis for the desired combination of durability and low weight.
This is not the first time that sources from supply chains in the Far East have suggested that Apple is dominating the metal notebook chassis supply – in fact some reports from August 2011 claimed that many companies were being forced to seek alternatives due to Apple’s domination over the production capacity of aluminium alloy metal chassis.
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