Would the late 2012 iMac manufacturing issue have happened with Steve Jobs?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by b3enthusiast, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. b3enthusiast macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2013
    Dear Board,

    I've caught myself wondering the last few weeks if this current manufacturing supply/lack of product issue as it relates to the late 2012 iMac have happened if Steve Jobs had lived and still been in charge at Apple.

    I can't remember (other than the iPhone/iPad) launches when a product launch has been this bumpy.......the iMac was announced on October 23rd and here we are almost in February with people who ordered their products in early December getting more frustrated day by day......

    Is this a failure at the top of the organization?

    I'm wondering how the Board of Directors and major shareholders are viewing this particular product launch......Of course, former US Vice President and Apple Board Member Al Gore just exercised a large option to purchase a huge amount of Apple stock, so he doesn't seem worried.

    I just wonder if the iMac launch is an anomaly, or are we witnessing another downward movement at Apple.

    I sure hope this was just an isolated mistake.

  2. Yougotcarved macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    IMO the smooth release/supply of Apple in the releases wasn't due to Steve Jobs it was largely due to Tim Cook being the EVP of Worldwide Operations. He was excellent at that job. Now that he's CEO, he doesn't manage that side of things day to day and I think it's the loss of Tim Cook from his old position that has been the problem...

    I don't know the situation all that well so could all be bollocks and sorry if it is, but thats what I've picked up
  3. itsamacthing macrumors 6502a

    Sep 26, 2011
    Yes, 10+ years ago it took up to 4+ months to get a product from Apple after it was announced.
  4. crovian macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2010
    Well the issue with white iPhone 4 delay and the antennagate is way bigger than iMac issues so I wouldn't fault TC too much. Apple, is like any other company, and will make mistakes
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Yes. Think of the transition from PPC to intel.
  6. b3enthusiast thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2013
    I bought in 2006


    I didn't have any of the PPC/Intel controversy as I bought a Mac Pro in 2006 to run Logic and that was my introduction to Apple products......have since bought 3 MacBook Pros (one every two years) to keep up with my workflow demands....and the late 2012 iMac is my newest purchase.

    I guess I am proudly Mac and just don't want to see it slip and fall.......but, every purchase I've made until now has been made in an Apple Store from product that was in stock.......this was my first BTO........

  7. Jiggly Billy macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2012
    Um. Yes. Look at all the issues their computers had when he was around.

    Steve didn't make the products. He didn't engineer them. He didn't design them (approved the design, but that's it). He had a VERY small hand in the departments that affect reliability.
  8. itsamacthing macrumors 6502a

    Sep 26, 2011
    Apple's weakest point is their use of too many vendors for parts and their choice to pick some of the least expensive at times. LCDs are a good example.
  9. b3enthusiast thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2013

    Sadly, this is the corporate way.....and, at times this strategy comes back to bite them........something I've never understood (in light of Apple's huge cash reserves and market capitalization is this: Why don't they purchase and or build their own plants for their major products instead of relying on other vendors?

    They could buy anything they need and not be hostage to anyone.

    When you look at how wealthy Apple is it would be easy to by the screen vendor.....the chip maker.....the graphics card maker......use their R & D departments, let engineering design the new stuff and the Apple could do everything without being held hostage by other vendors.

  10. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Yes, actually, it's BECAUSE of Steve Jobs.

    <dons flame suit>

    Personally, I don't like the "Steve would or wouldn't" crap. Why? Because Steve was unpredictable, he did things even HE said he would never do. He once SAID he would NEVER do a phone! And the list goes on and on, by the way.

    That aside, one of the business genius components of Steve was the tight supply chain. Steve Wozniak was recently interviewed and talked about even in the early days, how important it was to Jobs that they did NOT have warehouses full of product. That they could accurately predict and produce only enough product. I believe Woz even said "We will never overbuild" in reference to Apples supply chain. One of the issues Steve saw in the business models of his competitors was big box stores chocked full of products and warehouses full of stuff, but then you create a new product and BAM, you have TONS of useless inventory. Although this HAS happened to Apple a couple of times (Apple IIGS for example), they are really, really good about not letting it happen. With the exception of extremely high volume items like iDevices (which apple conveniently maintains one or two generations back in the supply chain, ever notice that? For the same reason! They have a plan to prevent a stockpile of obsolete unsold devices!), Apple tightly controls who sells their products, they have their own retail stores, and are really 'tight' on how many other retail stores carry their products. You won't find an iMac with a half-crushed box sitting on a folding table marked 'clearance' in the middle of Wal-Mart. That is precisely what Apple wants to avoid.

    So, yeah, I think under Jobs, the same would have happened. It's the very business model of Apple, keep tight supply chains and low inventory. Avoid the 'osbourne' effect (A company in the Jobs-Woz era that went under when they produced a TREMENDOUS amount of product, then information got out, partly due to their own announcements, about a next generation of product. People stopped buying, and they could never afford to produce the next generation! I believe Steve and Apple used this as a motivator for keeping absolute secrecy and a TIGHT supply line that doesn't overbuild!)

    Just my two cents. I could be wrong! But that's what I think.

    Why not produce their own stuff?

    Just ask Steve. When he came back to Apple, he said he HATED how proprietary Apple was. Look up the WWDC keynote from I BELIEVE 1997 (first one with Jobs back). He talks at LENGTH about how it's a BAD idea for Apple to produce all their own stuff. Basically, you can get better products at a lower price by sourcing from vendors, and only building what nobody else does. Apple DOES 'share engineers' with companies like Sharp, Samsung, etc., to help them design and produce products that will be in the next devices. For example, the iPhone 4's retina display. That wasn't an off the shelf part announced at CES that Apple just decided to buy a bunch of. But they didn't build it either. They worked with panel manufacturers to engineer and design a display, and let THEM build it, which allowed the iPhone to be a sub-$1000 device (much much less than that on subsidy!)

    You'll also notice that it was after Jobs' return that Apple started to switch to more industry standards, like getting rid of 'Apple Desktop Bus' and going with standards like USB, using 802.11b Wi-Fi instead of their own proprietary stuff, etc. etc. There WAS a time when Apple pretty much used their own in-house stuff only, and they were, at one point, 90 days away from bankruptcy producing computers that underwhelmed at a price that is 2 or 3 times the price of what they sell now!

    Because you see it's not the ports, or the chips, or who makes the parts that makes Apple who they are, it's the engineering and taking those pieces and making them do something great. Apple takes strides to make sure failures like that don't happen but even if they do, they have stellar support and stand behind their products.

  11. iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009
    Apple will always try to push, at least a few, engineering boundaries. its how apple are and much of the reason for their success. but this will very often create bumpy and unpredicted launches.
  12. DisMyMac macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2009
    Same reasons that the young like to play and not marry.
  13. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    LCDs are a great example, and so is their Solid State Disk manufacturer choices. Remember Samsung vs Toshiba on the 2011 MacBook Airs? Boy there was a significant difference there. Same thing with the hard drives on the 2012 27" iMac, with a lottery surrounding whether you get a speedy Seagate Barracuda or a Western Digital Caviar Blue when you opt for the 1TB or 1TB + Fusion drive. I really think Apple should source consistently where possible, and I find it hard to believe Seagate couldn't produce all the drives for Apple...
  14. Hexley macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2009
    I believe no. I would think Steve in his wisdom would have pushed back the redesign of the iMac to 2013 instead of forcing a very late 2013 debut.

    The redesign would have made a larger splash if it had a Retina Display which I expect to happen within 12 months.

    It will cost a lot but wow oh wow will it sing!
  15. Rogifan macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    And why exactly is a retina display needed on the iMac?
  16. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Yes, it would.

    White iPhone 4 - launched 9 months after plan.
    2009 iMac - low supply, lots of initial returns
    2006 iMac - low supply as I recall
    iMac G4 - supply of G3 ran out in July, G4 launched in September.

    So long as Apple continues to push aggressive designs, manufacturing delays are bound to happen. And Jobs was all about aggressive designs, and I expect and hope Apple to continue in that tradition.


    Good point, there could have a plan B like there was with the retina iPad. Though retina iMac is far more likely in 2014.
  17. Coffee Minutes macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2012
    As a general rule, manufacturers like Apple or Dell producing high-volume merchandise require multiple suppliers be contracted to ensure product demand is met. This ensures any constraint (plant fire, flooding, etc.) with a particular supplier doesn't bring operations (product delivery to consumer) to a halt.
  18. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    Sure, but the speed difference between the Seagate and the Western Digital is too great... It'd be one thing if they were reasonably equivalent in performance, and that's where I feel for consumers.

    It's the same nonsense with other manufacturers, of course. e.g. I got the short end of the stick with a review-unit Sony Vaio Z2. There were two sets of SSDs shipping with those laptops, one with SATA II disks (2x in RAID 0), and one with SATA III disks (again, 2x in RAID 0). What you got was a complete lottery, and the speed difference between the two is staggering. ~480MB/s reads on the SATA II disks vs over 900MB/s on the SATA III disks. Pretty crazy, right? Yep, I got the SATA II disks. Phooey. For that kind of money, you'd think there'd be some consistency. But until people kick up a real fuss about it, nothing will change. So it goes.
  19. Coffee Minutes macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2012

    What you're referring to is a manufacturing tenet called "Just-in-Time" (JIT) and was created by Toyota. If you're curious, there's a great book called The Toyota Way that tells the story of how Toyota created this supply chain system which has been adopted as industry standard for manufacturers.



    It's an unfair process, no doubt. Too bad all suppliers can't adhere to the same build-quality standard. I'm sure its possible (somewhat - due to proprietary designs), but I also don't doubt manufacturers like Apple also negotiate different logistics and cost benefits with each supplier. This would also help fill the consumer supply chain with a variety of component calibers, with a potential savings to Apple if they can push lower quality components in some of their machines.
  20. b3enthusiast thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2013
    I'm enjoying the replies

    Thanks for your answers thus far.

    I've admitted that I've only been using Apple since 2006.

    The responses on this thread are great. Thanks for taking the time to give me a history lesson and a supply/logistics refresher. : )

  21. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    I've had both my 2010 & 2011 iMacs recalled (both Seagate drives). Not that my example is neither here nor there...but different manufacturers provide 'part' redundancy and contingency in the events mentioned above as well as post purchase and 'long term' reliability and performance.

    As far as 'issues' with the delays...I see them as no such. More as challenges with the new welding techniques, big boost in both gpu and CPU options (all quad core now)--the fusion drives as well as excellent demand. The panels used in iMacs are for the most part some of the very best...the pinnacle of consumer computer displays. Their notebook displays are industry leaders as well. Apple lives on the bleeding edge. This iMac redesign was extreme, regardless of the pundits that exclaim differently. It wasn't just a 'thin', but pregnant profile change. It shaved nearly half the weight, eliminated 75% of the screen glare, finally introduced USB 3 and twin thunderbolt ports....enhanced and class leading GPU options, incredibly cool fusion technology...while not being 'new', it's certainly now available, supported and fast as hell...yet maintaining deep storage capacity for those of us that need it. This was a ground up design ALL the way to the 'packaging' of the iMac.

    21.5" iMacs are our business's workhorse. We do just a out 125 weddings, reunions and corporate events a year. We use iMacs as our primary (audio) source, 17" MBPs as our 'backup' audio source/primary DMX (lighting) control. I'm intimately familiar with the 2008/9/10 and '11 iMacs. We have 4 in operation at any given time...use them for two years and sell/replace them with the newest model (we purchase the 2nd tier models @ $1499 for the 1TB option...i5 models with bare bones RAM. We update the RAM to 16gb post purchase and utilize 90% of the 1tb capacity with our iTunes library...hence the decision to use iMacs as our primary source...the 3.5" drives have always been a bonus). Now that we are to a point the 1tb option will be a standard with the fusion drive, this is big deal for us...not to mention the weight shaving.

    I do realize my situation is unique and most folks don't use their iMacs in a portable manner---we do though, and as much as I've loved the 3.5" drive options...I think the pros of the new 2012 iMacs far outweigh the cons. The availability factor is irrelevant. This is absolute cutting edge technology...what Apple is doing with the 'body' of the iMac. The guts are a big time update too. A simple 30 day wait to receive your new iMac seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Folks have waited 6 months to get a Nexus 4! Belkin has delayed their TB port 18 months! Examples of product announcements...followed by lengthy delays are par for the course in this hobby we all enjoy...but in my opinion, regardless of a one month 'wait' time---Apple continues to deliver (both hard and software) on time...most of the time, every time! I can't think of another tech company that is as efficient at this time. Look at the Microsoft surface pro...I'm a Canon fan and a 25 year amateur photographer....I'm used to announcements with a one year wait for actual, significant opportunity to get my hands on the lens or the camera body. Maybe that's my problem. I'm into all the wrong hobbies:)

    Sorry....didn't mean to drag on and on. To answer the OP, No--I think Steve Jobs not being with us any longer has no affect on the performance of third party manufacturers of such cutting edge technology. Five years from now, Friction stir welding (is that the process?) may become mainstream. Today, in the computer industry it's a first.

  22. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2011
    on the yellow [oled] brick road to tech nirvana.
    Wow, a lot of text there! :p
    Good to see someone can make sense of the madness with apples recent direction for the IMac. I for one have decided to emply a wait and see game. I will be waiting the for the base mac-pro.

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