Back during the recent Peek Performance event, Apple showed off a few new products, most notably the Apple Mac Studio. Packing the absolutely monstrous M1 Ultra processor, it is the most powerful desktop computer that Apple has made. Of course, with great power comes great heat production too, and so popular YouTuber MKBHD lamented the lack of ways to clean the fans on it. However, Bloomberg columnist Mark Gurman noticed something else in MKBHD’s tweet, which is that the Mac Studio is apparently made in Malaysia.
This shouldn’t be of too big of a surprise, seeing as it was reported all the way back in 2019 that Apple was considering several locations for new assembly plants. Among them was Malaysia, with one key reason being it’s a neutral and cheaper location, especially in the context of the China-US trade war at the time. And by early 2021, it was pretty much confirmed that Apple has shifted production of the Mac Mini to Malaysia. Seeing as the Mac Studio is pretty similar to a Mac Mini in some regards, it would make sense that the plant assembling Mac Mini computers would also assemble the Mac Studio.
With that being said though, it certainly seems as though not all Mac Studio and Mac Mini desktops are being made in Malaysia. One customer who received their Mac Studio ahead of schedule by accident had uploaded images of his new computer online, and it seems as though that specific one at least was made in China. Furthermore, a friend of the office also has his own Mac Mini bought in May of last year, and that unit also says made in China.
One possibility could be that different SKUs are made in different places. By diversifying their production locations, Apple’s supply chain would be safer against factors outside of their control like COVID-19 outbreaks halting factories from operating. It could also be that the Malaysian factories are producing these Mac Studio and Mac Mini units for certain regions like the United States.
This is also just the latest in Malaysia’s long history of semiconductor and computer hardware production. In 1972, Intel and AMD had opened up their own manufacturing and assembly plants in Penang, and at one point in 1980 semiconductors made up over a third of all manufactured exports from Malaysia. Many AMD chips also still bear the ‘Made in Malaysia’ line on the IHS, while even the processor for the Xbox One X is made in Malaysia too. More recently, Nintendo Switch consoles are also being made in Malaysia, as well as the Sony WF-1000XM4, one of the best earbuds around.
As for the Mac Studio itself, despite some models of it being made in Malaysia, we still actually can’t buy or pre-order one as availability has yet to be confirmed. However, we do know how much it’ll cost, as the base model with an M1 Max processor priced at RM8,799 while those with an M1 Ultra starts at RM15,999.
Thanks @qeertysjanccc for the tip!