“As Apple Inc.’s longtime chief operating officer, Tim Cook was known for ensuring that new products hit the market on schedule,” Tripp Mickle reports for The Wall Street Journal. “With Mr. Cook as CEO, though, Apple’s new gadgets are consistently late, prompting questions among analysts and other close observers about whether the technology giant is losing some of its competitive edge.”

“Of the three major new products since Mr. Cook became chief executive in 2011, both AirPods earbuds in 2016 and last year’s HomePod speaker missed Apple’s publicly projected shipping dates,” Mickle reports. “The Apple Watch, promised for early 2015, arrived late that April with lengthy wait times for delivery. Apple also was delayed in supplying the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, two critical accessories for its iPad Pro.”

“The delays have contributed to much longer waits between Apple announcing a product and shipping it: an average of 23 days for new and updated products over the past six years, compared with the 11-day average over the six years prior, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Apple public statements,” Mickle reports. “Longer lead times between announcement and product release have the potential to hurt Apple on multiple fronts. Delays give rivals time to react, something the company tried to prevent in the past by keeping lead times short, analysts and former Apple employees said. They can stoke customer disappointment and have cost Apple sales.”

“Production issues contributed to the company largely missing the important Christmas shopping season with its two newest products, AirPods and HomePods,” Mickle reports. “The HomePod delay was “a huge opening” for Amazon and Google to increase sales to loyal iPhone and iPad customers, said Matt Sargent, an executive at research-based consultancy Magid. Apple seems “to be losing step, and that’s a big strategic concern with how they’re positioning the brand,” he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: According to the report, “Apple declined to make Mr. Cook available” to explain why Apple, the world’s richest company with virtually unlimited cash flow, can’t accomplish even basic tasks that far lesser competitors execute routinely, yet he and his top executives continue to rake in $20 million – $100+ million per year anyway.

Cook’s lack of availability is hardly surprising; Apple’s “operations genius” is probably busy preparing a sanctimonious speech on some topic wholly unrelated to Apple’s core mission which, since he’s obviously forgotten, is to delight customers with high quality products that just work.

Don’t worry short-term investors, when Apple announces record earnings soon, Wall Street will again forget all about these issue for awhile, giving them time to fester that much more.

The structural problems and management issues that cause Apple to release important software with flaws that should have been caught in early beta testing and routinely miss product availability dates will need to be corrected lest Apple eventually and inevitably damage the nearly invincible brand that Steve Jobs built.

As longtime readers know, this is nothing we haven’t been saying for years, as our January 2015 open letter to Tim Cook (“Apple needs to do better“) attests.

Nobody’s perfect, but when you are paid over a quarter of a million dollars per day, every day of the year, as Tim Cook is, Apple’s Board should expect exacting focus and much better execution than they are getting for their wild overpayment.

Too many mistakes too richly rewarded. The recent lack of focus, timely performance, and vexing issues with quality control (that should not exist in the world’s most valuable company, 40+ years after inception) will, if continued, negatively impact the company and future executives years down the road, likely not the current set.MacDailyNews, December 28, 2017

Luckily for Tim Cook, Steve Jobs left him a perpetual profit machine that can absorb pretty much any lackadaisical fsckatude that can be thrown into the spokes.MacDailyNews, November 17, 2017

Nobody’s perfect, but Apple is lately a lot more imperfect than we expect them to be.MacDailyNews, December 19, 2017

We pay for “it just works,” Apple. When you stop providing that, the gravy train will stop, too. Get your act together, Apple! — MacDailyNews, December 2, 2017

Exit question: Isn’t a caretaker CEO’s No.1 priority, you know, to take care?

Apple preps Siri for the HomePod, now streams a news podcast when asked for ‘news’ – January 4, 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook paid close to $102 million for fiscal 2017 – December 28, 2017
At Tim Cook’s Apple, Steve Jobs is long gone, and so is the ‘it just works’ ethos – December 19, 2017
Apple’s Phil Schiller: We feel bad about the HomePod delay – December 8, 2017
Echo Dot was Amazon’s Black Friday – Cyber Monday bestseller as Apple’s delayed HomePod waits for 2018 release date – November 28, 2017
Apple’s late, delayed, limited HomePod is looking more and more like something I don’t want – November 27, 2017
Why Apple’s HomePod is three years behind Amazon’s Echo – November 21, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
UBS analyst explains why he questioned if Apple CEO Tim Cook has a grand strategy – November 30, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Apple delays release of watchOS 2 due to bug – September 16, 2015
Apple delays HomeKit launch until autumn – May 14, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015
Apple delays production of 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro’ in face of overwhelming iPhone 6/Plus demand – October 9, 2014
Tim Cook’s mea culpa: iMac launch should have been postponed – April 24, 2013