Austin we have a problem: ‘Mac Pro demand is great and it will take time before supply catches up with demand,’ Apple says

“Macintosh power users who have been waiting years for Apple to update its high-end desktop and thought they could finally get their hands on the new workstation this month will have to wait a little longer,” Connie Guglielmo reports for Forbes. “”

“ccording to the Mac Pro order page on Apple’s website, the cylindrical-shaped desktop, which went on sale today, won’t ship until February — or March — after the company started the day by offering early buyers a Dec. 30 ship date,” Guglielmo reports. “Apple CEO Tim Cook, who told users last year that the company would deliver an update to the Pro in late 2013, has touted the fact that it is being built in the U.S. Most of Apple’s products are made in China. ‘We have begun manufacturing the Mac Pro in Austin. It’s the most powerful Mac ever. Orders start tomorrow,’ Cook said in a tweet yesterday that included a photo of the Pro on the assembly line.”

“‘Demand for the all new Mac Pro is great and it will take time before supply catches up with demand,’ an Apple spokesman said today,” Guglielmo reports.

Read more in the full article here.

“If this all sounds familiar to you, you’ve probably been reminded about the late-2012 iMac launch. Alongside the original iPad mini and fourth-generation full-sized iPad, Apple announced a redesigned iMac at its October 2012 product event,” Mark Gurman reports. “The new iMac was significantly thinner, lighter, and more powerful than its predecessor. The only problem was that 21.5-inch models would ship over a month later (in November) and the 27-inch product would ship in December.”

Advertisement: The new Mac Pro starting from $2,994 with FREE Shipping from MacMall.

“The 2012 iMacs ended up going on sale on November 30th (the last day for Apple to meet its self-imposed deadline), and many orders for the 27-inch models ended up not shipping until well into January,” Gurman reports. “So, with that in mind, why is Apple launching another even more niche product (just one year later) to even more extreme shortages?”

“The new Mac Pro [had] the lengthiest official pre-launch timeline for an Apple hardware product in recent history,” Gurman reports. “Apple announcing the availability of a future product 1.5 years before launch is absolutely unprecedented, but for a computer that is critical for certain professionals, that tease is practical. So, with all of the aforementioned announcements before the product even hit the market, why does Apple need to launch to shortages?”

“It would appear that there must have been some problems ramping up production in Texas. Why else would Tim Cook expose himself to the type of situation he just 1 year earlier said he wished he could avoid? The only rationale is that Mac Pro production was delayed beyond Apple’s wildest estimates,” Gurman writes. “When faced with the prospect of missing the deadline on the very important first U.S.-assembled Apple product in a decade versus making customers wait in very long queues, it would appear he opted for making the deadline.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Tim Cook, operations genius.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

50 Comments

    1. In case you haven’t been following the news, enrollments are way up and lots of people are very happy with their increased health care options.

      The website glitches for the national website for ACA are no different from version 1.0 of Apple maps — something that doesn’t matter after a couple of upgrades. And lots of the state enrollment websites have been working perfectly since Day 1 (California and Kentucky, leading the way).

      As the midterm elections roll around, no one will be campaigning to repeal the ACA. Because all the scare tactics will have failed and millions of people will have access to health care they simply wouldn’t have had before.

      Some train wreck.

      1. and a lot MORE people are furious over their previous insurance getting cancelled.

        The ACA is indeed a train wreck, and your fervent denial doesn’t change that.

        -jcr

        1. Train wreck indeed, and this one crashed right into my bank account. My wife’s ins used to be $330/mo with $2700 deductible, and it got cancelled. The best price I can get now is $399 with less benefits and $6700 deductible. To get at least the same benefits as before would cost $640. The ACA was misnamed. It should be The Insurance Industry Windfall Profits Guarantee Act – we have to buy it, and they get to write 50 million more policies to boot.

          1. The insurance industry, without reading the fine print, appears to have bought into the program given the vision of 40 million new customers. What they’re instead facing are costly mandates they’re expected to cover, and threats from the Feds if they don’t “voluntarily” comply with the latest (arguably illegal) executive orders. Some, unless they’re reimbursed by the Feds, may face bankruptcy.

      2. No offense, but your comment is full of crap.
        You sound like a PR shill.

        The website is a still a mess, so much so Obama had to do a dog-and-pony show with a bunch of high-tech leaders to figure out how to make the website work better.

        It’s obvious you know nothing about coding, because the problems go a lot farther and deeper than mere glitches. The whole architecture is FUBAR. I still have friends who can’t go further in the application process.

        I’m not sure you brought up state enrolment sites since none of them were the ones Obama paid 634 MILLION DOLLARS to build.

        1. Oh, it’s far worse than that. The website is, after all, just a portal. And what lies beyond is cost shifting and wealth transfer on a massive scale, and roughly 1/6 of the economy overseen by a labyrinthine regulatory structure, most of it unaccountable.

          Apropos, the $634 Million cost isn’t the final total. It could well reach a Billion. And that’s not counting the Billions in consumer losses and fraud that, given the system’s vulnerabilities, will inevitably follow.

      3. Well, since you started naming states, let’s take a look at Oregon. That state was gushing and head over heels for the ACA. During their roll-out, that state could not sign up one individual. To this day, that state has enrolled less than 100 people. Of that 100, no one knows if they actually are covered. The director of the program resigned. Additionally, Maryland, also another ardent supporter of the ACA experience the same thing as Oregon. In fact, the director of Maryland’s program also resigned. She was on a two week vacation during the roll-out. And it was a fiasco. There are other several states who are ardent supporters of the ACA who are also experiencing the same thing as Oregon and Maryland. All you have to do is google. Don’t take our word for it. Do some research.

      4. You obviously do not live in CA or have not applied for insurance through the exchange. 36-page application, hideous choices. I had a plan for years our family LIKED – $341/ mo premiums w/$3300 deductible. Now – $1010 for a horrific bronze plan w/$6K deductible, none of our docs and worse – we have some of the best hospitals in the world here in Orange County and not ONE of them accepts Obamacare bronze plan. Sickening.

      5. As kaplanmike notes, most of the state exchanges appear to working well. If all of the states had fully participated in the rollout, then things would have been much smoother. Guess which states chose not to participate? Guess which politicians continually sought to undermine the program rather than help to improve it? The same politicians that claim that nothing is wrong and that the private sector will take care of everything without any guidance or regulation. The same politicians who treat politics like religion, and actually attempt to insert (Christian) religion into government policy (e.g., Bush’s faith-based initiative).

        Rather than attempting to craft good policy…rather than attempting to evolve to meet the needs of this country, we get wars and torture and unfounded tax cuts and massive deficits (undermining the current administration). And the Patriot Act and the half-assed Drug card and obstructionism at every turn.

        Rather than sabotaging this effort, give an honest effort to make it better.

      6. The GOP had a chance to participate in the legislative process over the past five years, especially during the first two years when Obama was bending over backwards for a bipartisan effort. Obama should have just ramrodded legislation through Congress during those first couple of years, much as Bush did during his first term. Instead, the GOP strung him along in a political game to undermine Obama at all costs, regardless of the adverse impact to this country. The results were not good for the GOP. They won enough Congressional seats in 2010 to foster gridlock, but at the expense of fragmenting their party with a Tea Party subgroup. And the GOP failed to win its true objective with a defeat in the 2012 election.

        After having gone all in on the slash-and-burn tactics, what choice was their but to forge ahead? Stay the course!! Thus the ridiculous government shutdown in 2013 driven by the Tea Party. This made it apparent that the GOP and Boehner cannot even control its own party, much less the country. But they persisted in this lunacy…after all, as famously quoted, they have to get “something” out of the effort, they just don’t know what!

        So here we are about to enter calendar year 2014, and the GOP policy remains much the same. Admittedly, there has been a slight willingness to actually work on spending legislation, but it appears that the upcoming debt limit debate will be subject to yet more partisan bickering.

        Pitiful…

        1. Anyone who espouses Ayn Rand as a good philosophy to base a government on, should have their heads examined. The GOP has been overrun by a bunch of sociopaths. Through twisted logic, distortion, and outright lies, they’ve convinced a large segment of people to vote against their own best interests.

  1. I’m sure Cook delayed the launch so that it would not impact the current quarter.
    Given the most MP customers have waited several years for a newer model, I bet waiting another few months won’t be a biggie.
    Assembly should be easy so as long as the parts are available the delay will only be due to throughput.

    1. Expect that most of them went to grade schoolers as stocking stuffers and will spread the word.

      Come on people. Apple screwed up yet another product launch. The connection between the hopefulness of design and the reality of manufacturing is getting stretched ever further.

  2. The significance of this is its a learning process for Tim Cook and Apple and will help them with other similar manufacturing endeavors in the future here in the States. Apple should be applauded for making the move. The fact there may have been a few hiccups is expected more than not. Here’s to bringing it all home, eventually. We’re off to a good start.

  3. This is what Steve Jobs meant by “intuition”. He had the intuition to say, “build it, and they will come”. He was right always…they did come. Cook seems to prefer the “softly softly” approach. Cook waits to see what the demand is before he ramps up.

    What this tells you is Steve knew exactly what he was building and had his “soul” aligned with every NERD like me and you that visit MDN everyday. Cook doesn’t know a damn thing about us nerds, he is “soulless” in this regard.

    1. Look, Steve was my hero too, but everything you just said is nonsense. In case you weren’t around years ago, Apple products being in short supply for the first couple months is nothing new. It’s been going on for years, including when Steve was alive. Nothing has changed.

    2. I love your admiration for Steve, but do you remember the Power Mac G4 Cube? That was Steve’s baby, and as much as I loved mine, he totally got that product wrong. Then there was the eMac, “the first Mac entirely designed for education.” Except that educators didn’t want a 50 pound computer. And the entire education sales force was surprised when the “made for education” computer was announced.

  4. You release a new product and initial demand so exceeds supply that waiting times explode. How is this a bad thing for Apple? They are not losing much money because the Pro is a niche market. Instead, the world will hear that the Pro is such a hot item that you have to wait 2 months to get one.

    For those complaining about this, let’s look at the alternative approach typically employed by Redmond. In the alternative approach you make a shit-load of product, release it, and then it sits in warehouses because nobody wants one.

    I think Apple’s strategy here is much more sound.

    1. Actually this is so Microsoft, announce a product you can’t produce and make your customers wait an eternity before they can get it in hopes of chocking off sales to its competitors. This is not something Apple needs to do. How is this a good start for brining manufacturing back to the US it just gives anecdotal evidence to the nay Sayers that the US is not capable of the same kind of ramp up speed as China.

      1. And let’s not forget when Team Microsoft & Ballmer had them make too many Surface Tablets. Can you say $900,000,000 write down? That was the last straw that’s gotten our sweaty simian friend fired. I doubt that would ever happen to Apple under Cook’s watch.

  5. Let’s do some basic maths here.

    Apple sells on average 4 million Macs a quarter. Of that 80% are portable MacBooks, leaving 20% attributable to desktops. So they sell 800,000 desktops per quarter. Out of the desktops that are sold, 75% are iMacs leaving 25% for Mac minis and Mac Pros. Let’s be generous and divide that in the ratio of 4:1 which means minis account for 20% and Pros account for 5%. This means Mac Pros number around 40,000 units per quarter.

    Let’s say 50% of the people wanting Mac Pros per quarter place an initial order. This makes it 20,000 units on order. Apple cannot even deliver 20,000 Mac Pros within a week of ordering. I would assume that they should have stockpiled 10,000 units leaving 10,000 units unfulfilled. So to fulfil 10,000 units, they push delivery timetables to February 2014.

    That’s just mismanagement of the production lines. They cannot even meet production targets of 5,000 Pros a month. That’s totally ridiculous.

    1. There are so many “ifs” in your story line that it’s hard to respond. But let’s give it a go: SSD – not made by Apple; video card – not made by Apple; processor – not made by Apple; LED light – not made by Apple; and on and on. You nor I can know which thing or things are holding up fulfillment, so to claim “mismanagement of the production lines” really does nothing other than tell us of your disappointment at having to wait or of your hidden agenda against current management.

      I remember a MacWorld where we had to revise all printed literature the night before the keynote because a component vendor violated the terms of the NDA and press embargo and the company’s response was to sever ties with them, delaying fulfillment by five weeks as the QA process had to revamp around the corrected configurations.

      There could have been legal issues or FCC approval delays or EPA issues or even in fact mismanaged production lines. But you can’t know that; I can’t know that. All we know is that demand exceeds supply.

      1. Don’t forget that Mr. Cook tweeted two days ago that production has begun in Austin. I interpret that as a tweet of joy that was made when the assembly line officially began its first production run. This means that the ramp-up is just beginning.

        Also remember that Apple generally issues worst-case scenario projected ship dates. Product is generally shipped well ahead of those dates.

        Manufacturing of parts clearly began a long time ago. The major supply issues are the Xeons and the FirePro chipsets. Add to that Intel’s Thunderbolt certification, without which nothing ships. There are many RAID and JBOD boxes and connection hubs that have been held up for many months awaiting certification.

        1. Blah, blah, blah, all I’m hearing is a long string of excuses. That’s in line with the mentality of uncritical Kool-Aid drinkers who don’t have a mind of their own but would rather that Apple did their thinking for them.

          Steve Jobs said of you’re the janitor, you can make up excuses for why mistakes happen, but when you’re in management the buck stops with you, and you have to own up to your mistakes. Well the buck stops with Cook & he has underperformed. No question about it.

          1. It’s not excuses, it’s reality. If you can manage a complex, bleeding-edge supply chain and launch a similar product faster, be my guest.

            Well, we’re waiting…

    2. your’re doing myths instead of maths.

      First you derive a buying rate of 40,000 units sold per quarter, but then you assume that this is the number of people WANTING one, and only half of them would be buying one in that quarter. No, Jovial Joker, the buying rate would still be 40,000/quarter – because that’s the buying rate!
      And this is assuming that nothing happened. But something did change: they are selling an entirely new MacPro now. The pent-up demand for it will be much much larger.

    3. The problem with building in Austin is there is no phone you can call and say “I need another production line and 20,000 experienced workers tomorrow. The capacity will be required for about four months”. You can do that in Taiwan. That’s what Jobs was talking about when he told Obama “Those jobs are never coming back”. The US simply does not have the electronics manufacturing infrastructure (engineers, facilities and workers) needed to respond.

      Austin will work its way through, build great products and catch up with the backlog. But the deck is stacked against the emergence of a highly responsive US-based contract electronics assembly industry.

  6. I’m fairly certain the delays will not be seen as high demand but as a terrible supply chain shortage. Most of the computing industry had already decided that no one would be buying an expensive cylindrical-shaped computer from Apple. I mean the new Mac Pro is about 1/6 the size of an older cheese-grater Mac Pro and they figure how can anyone get any serious work done with such a tiny and oddly-shaped computer. The new Mac Pro weighs about 12 lbs. compared to the 41 lb. monster 2012 Mac Pro.

    Everyone will be scratching their heads thinking as to how can the new Mac Pro possibly have any serious processing power when it’s so small and light. I’d definitely like to own one but the best Mac for me would be the most powerful iMac.

    1. So if the cylindrical-shaped computer came from Cray people would buy it? Because I’m pretty sure that Cray computer sold in lower quantities than the Mac Pro will. Maybe it was the bench seat that turned off prospective buyers.

      1. It’s a binary world now…reason, patience, good fortune and simple delight have all been replaced by blather and whingeing from the cess pool.
        Some folk need to get a grip.

  7. Apple is trying to do something big – make great computers in America. This is an idea that has been pretty much forsaken. They should not be criticized if the initial demand is greater than the supply. That is actually a good problem. Some had speculated that Apple would give up the high end professional systems because they are a small part of the business. But Apple didn’t and they have built a truly high performance machine worthy of the Apple brand. And it is being built here. So quit the mindless and childish rants about how it should all be perfect with no delays on Day 1. Let them do their thing. Thank you Apple, for trying to see if it is still possible to build a great product here, despite all the obstacles government puts in your way. Good luck.

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