WSJ: Apple product delays double in length with Tim Cook as CEO


According to today's Wall Street Journal, Apple has seen the time between announcing a new product and shipping it rise to 23 days during the past six years. During the six years before that, the average was only 11 days. This is not a good sign for the tech titan. Apple used to keep lead times short to prevent rival tech firms from responding to a new product from Cupertino. These delays can also upset customers and cost the company money.

One example of a product delay that hurt Apple in its pocketbook is the ongoing one with the HomePod smart speaker. Devised by Amazon, this product combines a speaker and a virtual assistant. Amazon launched the device in 2015 and this year many smart speakers were purchased for Christmas and Hanukah. Apple originally was hoping to join in with a December launch of its premium HomePod smart speaker, priced at $349. But the device was not ready in time, and is now expected to be released early this year. As a result, Amazon and Google both benefited from Apple's absence in the marketplace over the holiday shopping season.

Other Apple products that had delayed launches include the wireless Bluetooth powered AirPods, launched in 2016. The year before, the Apple Watch was late to launch. Other delays took place with a pair of iPad Pro accessories, the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil.

One reason for the widening in product launch delays at Apple could have to do with the different technique favored by the late Steve Jobs compared to the one employed by his hand picked successor to replace him as CEO of the company. Tim Cook has a penchant for announcing a new product as soon as he is able to. Jobs, on the other hand, preferred to wait until a new device was almost ready to ship before unveiling it.

Cook has said that he had wanted to release all three 2017 iPhone models at the same time. Because the iPhone X wasn't ready to launch in September, only the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were available to purchase at the time. But Cook made sure that the iPhone X was unveiled at the same time as the other two models were, so that customers could decide which new iPhone they wanted. This resulted in many consumers holding off on purchasing a new iPhone until the 10th anniversary model was launched. Apple saw its U.S. market share decline by 7.6 percentage points during the October quarter because of the staggered release dates.

Another difference between Jobs and Cook is that the former thought Apple would do better to introduce fewer new products each year. Cook has pushed out 70 new devices during his tenure as CEO, and since 2007 the company has doubled the number of products it offers. Of the 70 new products released with Cook as CEO, five had delays of three months or more between the product announcement and shipping of the device. Nine products were delayed between one and three months. Under co-founder Jobs, only one new product was delayed by three months, and seven shipped one to three months after the product was introduced.

Some blame the delays on the increasing complexity of Apple's product line. They also note that instead of sourcing complete parts, Apple is more apt to buy components of these parts and have them assembled by the contract manufacturers that it uses. While this allows Apple to keep costs down, it does require precise coordination between the assembler and the suppliers.

source: WSJ

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12 Comments

1. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Apple Stock grow double, if from his stand prospective.

24. sgodsell

Posts: 7430; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Apple likes to find ways to lock, or control it's herd, or better yet make people think their products are the greatest by hyping them up with propaganda. So Apple can then tack on their premium prices to match their fruit logo. I always go back to that salesman motto. A sucker is born every minute. Apple clearly stands by that motto. Forgetting about that stuff. Everybody knows Apple pays tech sites to make articles that favour Apple. Just look at PhoneArena made another article talking about how the Homepod has better sound than Google Home, and Amazon Echo. Yet it hasn't been released. No one should be surprised by this. But once again putting that aside as well. Apple has a major problem with privacy concerns when it comes to Siri, period. Why you might ask? Well it's simple Apple is all about keeping the users privacy. However when you have a speaker like the Google Homes or Amazon Echos. Those speakers only use your voice to authenticate each user. It's also one of the reasons they can get the prices so low for these smart speakers. The sales during the holidays were as low as $29. For most users that is all they want or need. Especially if you want to do a query, or turn on or off some home appliances, or adjust your lighting, call anyone for free in the US or Canada, play some music, or watch a video, movie, or listen to music on your TVs via these smart speakers. So the audio quality doesn't really matter in most of those cases. Apples latest rumors had Apple using a camera on their speaker, plus using the customers iPhone nearby for authentication and security. Which will definitely up the cost of Apple's smart speaker. If Apple does go that route, then you can forget about a low cost version of the Homepod. This is where both Google and Amazon sold a ton of their lower priced versions which were low enough to be sold as stocking stuffers during the holiday season. Google even stated that they sold one Google Home mini every second since they introduced them. So naturally a $350 smart speaker with Siri is definitely not going to sell that well unless Apple can release a cheaper version. Especially when Siri is the dumbest assistant on the market in comparison to the other smart assistants. Apple definitely has their hands full trying to get into this market sector. If Apple cannot come up with a cheaper version to compete, then Apples smart speaker will be a niche product at best. We are talking more than 10 times the price difference here between Apples homepod and say the cheapest version of Google's Home or Amazon's Echo.

25. daniyal_05

Posts: 93; Member since: Nov 15, 2017

Hey. Well said my friend. I thought you were an apple fanboy, but i was mistaking you with someone else. Anyways Thumbs up for well written mini-article, have a nice day

5. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

He doesn’t like premature products!!!!!!!

7. cmdacos

Posts: 4258; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

The actual products dispute this comment...

8. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Technically speaking. The iPhone X is more like a Beta product, I have one, the technology in it is amazing, but the Face ID works 7 out of 10. And it doesn’t have enough ram like Note 8 to keep a lot of the apps opened in the background, The iPhone X lost in real life speed test because of not having enough ram.

10. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

And it doesn’t have enough ram like Note 8 to keep a lot of the apps opened in the background, You don’t know about what you are talking......

20. darkkjedii

Posts: 31281; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Actually, you don't troll. I own both an X, and Note 8, and the Note wastes it in RAM management, and just about everything else now that I think about it.

22. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Actually, his first sentence is quote from vliang86.. cnour is just troll, like always

13. Cat97

Posts: 1921; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The actual problem is that four iPhone generations are identical in design (6, 6s, 7 and 8) and battery life has been the same for the last 10 years. Apple is a boring company.

14. SIGPRO

Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Apple is indeed a boring company. Nothing new to offer, if a new feature is introduced they ripped it off from others.

21. darkkjedii

Posts: 31281; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The X is a cool device, but it is really lacking in features...I can't lie. It's got some good tech, but Apple needs to Note 8 it.

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