iPad Production Bottleneck

Battlestar

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 9, 2010
407
0
Boston
They have changed the ship lead times from 5 to 7 days to 7 to 10 days and the overseas lauch deliverly for new pre-orders is now June 7th.

Are they still having problems getting the touch screens or is it something else that is holding up production?
 

diabolic

macrumors 68000
Jun 13, 2007
1,572
1
Austin, Texas
They should be able to increase production to meet demand.
Depending on a lot of factors, it may not be possible to do it quickly. If they are anywhere near maxing out their current fabrication and assembly capability, setting up an additional factory wouldn't be easy. It's not necessarily as easy as just ordering more.
 

poloponies

Suspended
May 3, 2010
2,661
1,359
They should be able to increase production to meet demand.
It's not the Ford Motor Company circa 1950 when they controlled the manufacture of all the individual component and stockpiled them in warehouses; they contract for a given range of product over a given period and their supplies are geared to match that output (the old "just-in-time" delivery). So unless production of every part can be ramped up for simultaneous delivery it's not an easy thing to "just make more."
 

Battlestar

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 9, 2010
407
0
Boston
So what you are saying is that they totally blew their market reseach estimate of demand?

Typically a company that size would have the ability to ramp up production by twenty precent or initially holds production back by twenty percent.

The only conclusion that one can come to then is that Apples market research analysts are inadequate.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,352
8,705
Prescott Valley, AZ
So what you are saying is that they totally blew their market reseach estimate of demand?

Typically a company that size would have the ability to ramp up production by twenty precent or initially holds production back by twenty percent.

The only conclusion that one can come to then is that Apples market research analysts are inadequate.
Where are you getting your 20% figure from?

And yes, it is possible that Apple severely underestimated demand. It is possible that they anticipated that initial demand would be greater than the level of stabilized demand 6 months out... and were unwilling to invest in the ability to deliver at the initial demand levels when that capacity would go unused 6 months later.

There are quite a few possibilities that resulted in what appears to be a temporary shortage.
 

wombat888

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2008
541
0
Market research is not as precise as people like to think.

Apple probably did research and came back with a range of possible demand. Based on that range, they had to decide whether to build enough to meet the highest likely demand, or to build fewer.

The advantages of building fewer are:

- quicker to market
- lower potential costs if sales are poor

The advantages of building more are:

- greater potential quick revenue if sales are strong

Apple cannot build more iPads per day than they can receive screens per day (and other components, but screens are believed to be the bottleneck).

They are probably at pretty close to the max, if not the max, so the easiest way to have better supplies at launch would have been to delay launch.

The other option would be paying a greater than linear amount to get the supplier to ramp up production (in some cases, this can require buying or building a new assembly line) and then ramp up iPad production (which again may require buying or building an assembly line). It doesn't necessarily cost 20% more to build 20% more iPads, it may cost 50% more.

So if you make too many, you probably delay launch and you certainly lose money you've invested in parts and manufacturing.

If you make too few, you end up with people clamoring for the device (which is good) but unable to hand you their money until the device shows up (which is bad).

In that scenario, the smartest option is to bet on medium to low sales relative to your projections, because it's less painful to deal with being wrong than if you overbuild. In fact, it's arguably a positive, as it helps create buzz and a sense of a successful product launch.
 

dacreativeguy

macrumors 68020
Jan 27, 2007
2,014
210
Apple sold a million units already... in a month! I'd say that they are likely building these things as fast as possible. Either be patient, or stop by a store. When I wanted to pull the trigger last week, one store was out but another had plenty. The store that had plenty, didn't have any cases though. I went back to the first store a few days later and they had just gotten a shipment of all the different cases. So you can get lucky.
 

nj-mac-user

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2009
438
61
TX
Let's not forget, these aren't G.I. Joe's where a million can easily be made in a day. With any product like a computer or a car that has many parts it takes time to manufacture and assemble. It would've been silly for Apple to have had 10 million produced by launch just in case there happened to be very high demand. Even when we knew what the ipad was after the keynote and before it actually launched many were very skeptical with exactly how successful this thing would be. So to think they must've underestimated market demand is silly because nobody knew. For goodness sake, how many people swore they weren't getting one until they actually played with one?

Just like with the Nintendo Wii, people will wait to buy one because they really want one despite there having been competition (Xbox 360 & PS3). Difference is, the ipad doesn't have competition and people will purchase multiple per family.
 

Harmush

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2008
551
0
Liverpool
Where did you get this international 7th june information?

apple site in UK says 28th may still!!

i'll break down if it is 7th june. i can't wait longer!!



EDIT: I notice now. the NEW ipad pre-orders. lucky i pre ordered on monday and mine should still arrive on the 28th.
 

johnnymg

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2008
1,315
2
So what you are saying is that they totally blew their market reseach estimate of demand?

Typically a company that size would have the ability to ramp up production by twenty precent or initially holds production back by twenty percent.

The only conclusion that one can come to then is that Apples market research analysts are inadequate.
That's some conclusion there Einstein. :rolleyes:
 

Durious

macrumors 6502
Apr 11, 2008
282
1
Calgary, Alberta
Where did you get this international 7th june information?

apple site in UK says 28th may still!!

i'll break down if it is 7th june. i can't wait longer!!
Go to the UK pre-order page you'll see "Ships by June 7th" across all models. The main page says May 28th cause that's when it's available in the UK and will be delivered to those who pre-ordered early.

(Edit--- I seen you re-editted afterwards lol)
 

diabolic

macrumors 68000
Jun 13, 2007
1,572
1
Austin, Texas
So to think they must've underestimated market demand is silly because nobody knew. For goodness sake, how many people swore they weren't getting one until they actually played with one?
If you believed much of the tech press before launch it was going to be a colossal failure. :)
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,830
7,369
Are they still having problems getting the touch screens or is it something else that is holding up production?
Do you have a cite to validate that tid bit or is that just an unsubstantiated rumor?

Reality is, the iPad, unlike the original iPhone, was effectively launched worldwide. That naturally puts a constraint on availability even with good supply of all parts. If Apple had launched only in the U.S. and delayed international availability for 6 months there likely would not be any problem walking into an Apple store and buying whichever one you wanted. As-is a week or so wait online is really no big deal. Just compare to the Wii where there was a months or longer wait for a long time.

Apple is lucky that a the present time there isn't a viable competitor product avaible. If so the people who have to have everything now would be looking at the alternative.

Apple's real luck is in having competitors that can only copy it's products, and not real well either. Android is mostly successful because it's on other carriers besides ATT.
 

BroadcastDoc

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2008
263
40
Milwaukee, WI
Apple is lucky that a the present time there isn't a viable competitor product avaible. If so the people who have to have everything now would be looking at the alternative.
No, if there were a viable competitor product available there likely wouldn't be a shortage.

You seem to want to make this a much simpler scenario than what really exists. So tell me about the successful launch of your million selling product... ;)
 

dacreativeguy

macrumors 68020
Jan 27, 2007
2,014
210
Apple is lucky that a the present time there isn't a viable competitor product avaible. If so the people who have to have everything now would be looking at the alternative.
There is no luck involved at all. Apple does a really good job in delivering products that people want to buy. They usually aren't the first to market, but watch all the mistakes that the early players make and build their products with the best features.

1. iPod - Several companies had 2-3 years on Apple, but didn't really execute. Apple came along and blew the competition away.

2. iPhone - Palm and Blackberry owned the smartphone market for years... until Apple got into the mix.

3. iPad - How long have crappy tablets been out there with a shoehorned Windows OS? Apple figured out that people don't want (or can't use) a full OS in a touch screen device. 1M people have agreed so far.

The funny thing is that all of the early players that Apple shuts out eventually copy Apple's ideas to compete.