"Can we say that the MacBook Air has a perfect, sophisticated external appearance, but its insides are full of waste?" And by waste, the Japanese engineers doing Nikkei's teardown really mean screws. Thirty of them. (We thought it was marvelous.) Apparently, Apple is as anal about its manufacturing specs as it is about aesthetics. A common practice for Japanese PC companies is to let the manufacturing plant "improve" the design or implement ones that cut costs. Like, use less screws. But one of the noted that:

"The MacBook Air gives me an impression that its manufacturing plant packaged the computer exactly as ordered by Apple."

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The high build cost is "astonishing" to Nikkei's teardown squad. They then go on to claim that they "can't find anything technically superior" about it and that they could "make the same computer at a lower cost."

Yet somewhat ironically, Apple's OCDness about manufacturing is portrayed as if it's compromising good design:

Based on the results of our teardown project, we guess Apple is not paying much attention to both workmanship of the hardware design and comprehensive cost reduction...The MacBook Air's mysterious internal design might be a violent antithesis against Japanese manufacturing, which allows no compromise even in detailed parts of the hardware.

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So, um whose expertise do you trust? Engineers laboring under the Eye of Jobs? Or ones on the plant floor looking to make stuff cheaper? [Tech On]