Buy To Order vs Standard Spec

l33r0y

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 7, 2007
288
0
OOps, I meant 'Build To Order vs Standard Spec'....


Here's a question that someone may know the answer to...

How are iMacs produced in the factory? Do they:

1, come off the production line in only the standard specifications (as defined on the Apple web site), then retrofitted with BTO options or
2, they produced in all possible variations (negating the need for retrofitting)

I would prefer #2, my iMac order would be chosen off the shelf, matching my BTO order, whereby there is a rack of iMacs with all variations of screen, processor, hard disk etc.

#1 could in theory be open to possible damage if, say an order is placed on the apple store, chooses a 2.4GHz based iMac then selects a 2.8GHz upgrade and a larger hard disk. If the production process is taken literally to 'upgrade a standard 2.4GHz machine', it could mean an off the shelf standard 2.4GHz iMac is opened up to perform the user selectable upgrades by an underpaid factory worker...

Could this have any truth in it? It would certainly make sense from a production speed perspective to have all iMacs build to a set spec and then retrofitted afterwards for those BTO options (option 1) - but this would depend on the percentage of BTO orders that arrive. If it is very common for people to have varying specs, then option 2 would be favorable for apple.

:apple:
 

Soschil

macrumors member
Feb 10, 2007
32
0
Copenhagen
I don't really know, but when I ordered my bog standard 24" iMac there was weeks of waiting which leads me to believe that all machines are more or less built (or at least assembled) to order (I ordered it a while after it was introduced, so production should have been up to speed IMHO).
I'm only guessing of course, but it's an interesting question :)
 

darkanddivine

macrumors member
Jan 13, 2007
72
0
For us UK buyers, the base spec models are built across the water in Ireland. If you build a custom order, it is made in China.
 

l33r0y

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 7, 2007
288
0
For us UK buyers, the base spec models are built across the water in Ireland. If you build a custom order, it is made in China.
Interesting... Thanks for that.

So by merely upping the HDD capacity would be enough to shift the source halfway around the world?
 

ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
2,645
649
Interesting... Thanks for that.

So by merely upping the HDD capacity would be enough to shift the source halfway around the world?
Yip, that seems to be the case. I can see the logic behind it, but the extra wait is a bit frustrating.
 

balticgreen

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2004
54
18
Maryland
Neither. It isn't efficient to build computers in all possible configurations, stock them somewhere, and hope someone wants them. It also isn't efficient to retrofit options into standard configurations since that isn't suited to an assembly line, any parts removed are no longer new parts, and as you said there is a possibility for damage to parts.

"Build to order" means the machine is built to your order. They have room in the production schedule to account for custom orders and they fit your machine in and build it to your order specs. The same thing happens with cars when you order a configuration that can't be found on a dealer's lot.
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,623
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I got my 2.8 24" 750GB HDD 1GB RAM BT MM yesterday and while it was not a stock model in any sense, it was built very quickly and had no signs whatsoever of your #1. It was flawless, well except for pixel issues which is simple screen panel related and for which it is now being replaced.
 

johnmcboston

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2005
396
5
Boston
Neither. It isn't efficient to build computers in all possible configurations, stock them somewhere, and hope someone wants them.
While true, the only real open-up option on these imacs is the hard drives. (not sure how much demand there is for the 2.8GHz CPU). Ram is just plugged in via the access holes. I can see them getting some % of the machines with larger HDs... IT all depends on what the cost is. Does it cost more to have the warehouse in PA have imacs with different HDs and provide same-day shipping? Or have them factory configured in the far east and sent to my house for free, but take a week or more?
 

balticgreen

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2004
54
18
Maryland
While true, the only real open-up option on these imacs is the hard drives. (not sure how much demand there is for the 2.8GHz CPU). Ram is just plugged in via the access holes.
Even if the only thing you change about the configuration is the RAM, it's still a BTO purchase if you are ordering it online or by phone. They build it with the extra RAM rather than just popping another stick in the access hole. Of course this is not the case if you buy it at an Apple Store and want extra RAM but that's not BTO; that's purchasing a stock config and a RAM upgrade at the same time.

When you get a BTO, check the system spec sticker near the serial number. It will indicate the larger amount of RAM that was ordered and inserted into the system at the time the system was built. Additions (upgrades) after that are not reflected on the spec sticker.

I would be extremely surprised if Apple stocked BTO configurations in any warehouse. This is why their policy is to not accept returns of BTO systems; they don't want to stock it or try to resell a custom system. If a BTO configuration becomes very popular and it makes financial sense for them to stock it, they would likely create another standard configuration and begin selling it that way.
 

marcg007

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2003
101
0
Boston area
BTO vs Standard Spec

What I don't understand is if the top line iMac is a BTO thing, why is it listed as one of the available models not only at store.apple.com , but also on the individual retail store sites. In case I am not being clear, what I mean is, usually in the past, apple had Good, Better, and Best options and it was up to the customer to choose the model closest to what they wanted and anything they changed would cause their purchase to become BTO. With the iMac, the 2.8 option is listed as a 4th standard package but when you choose it, suddenly it's a BTO. If they are calling it BTO, shouldn't one need to choose the specs to upgrade from the other 24inch model?
Please forgive my rant but this has been bugging me since last week.

Thanks,

Marc
 

ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
2,645
649
What I don't understand is if the top line iMac is a BTO thing, why is it listed as one of the available models not only at store.apple.com , but also on the individual retail store sites. In case I am not being clear, what I mean is, usually in the past, apple had Good, Better, and Best options and it was up to the customer to choose the model closest to what they wanted and anything they changed would cause their purchase to become BTO. With the iMac, the 2.8 option is listed as a 4th standard package but when you choose it, suddenly it's a BTO. If they are calling it BTO, shouldn't one need to choose the specs to upgrade from the other 24inch model?
Please forgive my rant but this has been bugging me since last week.

Thanks,

Marc
My local Apple reseller was saying the exact same thing. They thought that the top-end iMac was an off-the-shelf item, but then found out it was BTO. To their credit I think they're planning to order a few just to have in stock.
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,623
1,457
What I don't understand is if the top line iMac is a BTO thing, why is it listed as one of the available models not only at store.apple.com , but also on the individual retail store sites. In case I am not being clear, what I mean is, usually in the past, apple had Good, Better, and Best options and it was up to the customer to choose the model closest to what they wanted and anything they changed would cause their purchase to become BTO. With the iMac, the 2.8 option is listed as a 4th standard package but when you choose it, suddenly it's a BTO. If they are calling it BTO, shouldn't one need to choose the specs to upgrade from the other 24inch model?
Please forgive my rant but this has been bugging me since last week.

Thanks,

Marc
The $2,299 iMac is stock with a 2.8. And it is returnable as such. It's not if you select the $1,799 2.4 and change the CPU or the RAM or any other options.
 

ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
2,645
649
The $2,299 iMac is stock with a 2.8. And it is returnable as such. It's not if you select the $1,799 2.4 and change the CPU or the RAM or any other options.
The stock 2.8 iMac is a BTO option even if you don't change a thing about it.
 

PieMac

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2002
747
13
This is something I was wondering about as I just ordered a BTO yesterday. The only thing I changed was upgrade the processor to the 2.8. So far it shows my iMac shipping no later than 8/21 (Tuesday). So I guess I can presume that would be from China?
 

PieMac

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2002
747
13
I got my 2.8 24" 750GB HDD 1GB RAM BT MM yesterday and while it was not a stock model in any sense, it was built very quickly and had no signs whatsoever of your #1. It was flawless, well except for pixel issues which is simple screen panel related and for which it is now being replaced.
Just curious what was the pixel issue and did Apple give you a hard time at all about it? Did they replace the computer or the screen? I didn't think that Apple felt a pixel problem was worth replacing unless it's severe...?

I just ordered a BTO and I'm a little nervous about it because I know they won't take returns on it...but I assume that they will switch it out if the issue can't be repaired...whether it's BTO or not...is this correct? I've ordered all of my last Macs from Amazon.com and they have an excellent returns policy. I would have ordered from them again, but I really feel that the 2.8 processor is better for my needs...and Amazon unfortunately doesn't offer the high end model.
 

rainydays

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2006
886
0
This is why their policy is to not accept returns of BTO systems; they don't want to stock it or try to resell a custom system.
But they do accept returns on BTO systems. Several of the refurbished ones are apparently BTO right?

Either way, their policy isn't worth much in Sweden since it's against our mail order law.
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,623
1,457
Just curious what was the pixel issue and did Apple give you a hard time at all about it? Did they replace the computer or the screen? I didn't think that Apple felt a pixel problem was worth replacing unless it's severe...?

I just ordered a BTO and I'm a little nervous about it because I know they won't take returns on it...but I assume that they will switch it out if the issue can't be repaired...whether it's BTO or not...is this correct? I've ordered all of my last Macs from Amazon.com and they have an excellent returns policy. I would have ordered from them again, but I really feel that the 2.8 processor is better for my needs...and Amazon unfortunately doesn't offer the high end model.
I had a few dead or stuck pixels, stuck I think, but couldn't unstick them, one of which was red and near dead center of the screen along with some backlight bleeding along the bottom right of the screen. I don't think I would have called on the backlight if I didn't have the pixel issues too since it wasn't too bad, but between the two I didn't think it was acceptable. Applecare support was nice, walked me through some troubleshooting, and then filed the machine as DOA and gave me a case number. I called sales support and they initiated the return and replacement process. Fingers crossed the next one is good to go.

But they do accept returns on BTO systems. Several of the refurbished ones are apparently BTO right?

Either way, their policy isn't worth much in Sweden since it's against our mail order law.
refurbs that get sent out with higher specs, such as more RAM, upgraded CPU, HDD, or GPU are not BTO returns, they are cases like mine where the original order was considered DOA (may have been working, but had some issue) and it was replaced. The DOA unit is then overhauled, the faulty component replaced/repaired and it goes through a more stringent Quality Control inspection before being sold at a refurb discount since the computer was originally in someone else's hands and may have minor cosmetics defects, etc.