Just last week, Apple’s Mac Studio made headlines when Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman pointed out that the Mac Studio—or at least some of them—carried the ‘Made in Malaysia’ label. However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed that final assembly is still actually being done in China, and that Malaysia is where the surface mount technology processing of the Mac Studio is happening.
Surface mount technology, or SMT for short, is a way of mounting electrical components onto the surface of the printed circuit board (PCB). At its simplest, it involves solder paste printing, placing the components on and using reflow soldering to attach these parts onto the PCB. If Kuo’s claims are true, this means that the parts of the Mac Studio go through SMT processing in Malaysia, but once all the parts are ready, it then gets shipped back to China for final assembly. There’s good reason to believe Kuo too, as he is known for his accurate claims on Apple especially when it comes to their supply chain.
Seeing as the SMT processing is technically adding more value than just assembling it, Apple uses the line ‘Made in Malaysia’ rather than ‘Made in China’. By doing so, it also ensures that shipping to countries like the United States would be cheaper, with lower tariffs than if it was ‘Made in China’. This would make sense as a number of American reviewers and outlets have shown off ‘Made in Malaysia’ Mac Studios, while a French customer who received his Mac Studio early had the ‘Made in China’ tag. We’re also noted before about how Apple is seeking to diversify their production and assembly plants away from China in light of the ongoing US-China trade war.
Nevertheless, regardless of where the Mac Studio is made, it’s not like you can get one for yourself in Malaysia yet. At time of writing, the Mac Studio is still unavailable for purchase on the Apple Malaysia website, with it telling you to check back later for availability. You’ll need to fork up quite a sum though, as the Mac Studio with an M1 Max processor will start from RM8,799 while one with Apple’s M1 Ultra processor starts at RM16,799, with the higher spec M1 Ultra consisting of the full 64 GPU cores starting at RM20,799.
Thanks @qeertysjanccc for the tip!