Apple product delays have more than doubled under CEO Tim Cook

“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?

SEE ALSO:
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

52 Comments

  1. MDN. Grow up! Cook is a busy fellow. If he chooses not to make himself available to journalists the least likely reason is that he is writing a speech on any subject.

    I am not a fan of either Cook or the modern Apple. But childish homophobia by the “ever-teenage” MDN staff is pathetic…

    1. “Homophobia?”

      Not seeing it. Anywhere.

      Diagnosis: You’re projecting.

      Psychological projection: When humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.

    2. Are you trying to get us fighting again? Homophobia? My desire to see Macs given at least as much attention as emojis is the result of homophobia?

      If anything it is homo-fatigue, as in being tired of people bringing up Tim’s sexual orientation whenever someone criticizes Apple’s performance.

    3. And once again we have a typical liberal who likes to “read between the lines” and assumes MDN is a homophobia website.

      Great jobs Mr. Fakenews.

      Tim Cook just sucks, period.

      Does that offend you?

    4. Typical Dem/Lib/Prog.

      If Cook were black, you’d scream “racist!”

      People like you, the terminally aggrieved over invented slights, are losers and counterproductive to a well-functioning society.

    5. “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.” ~MDN

      I guess it’s open to interpretation as to what “sanctimonious speech” MDN is has issues with (only to the insincere), but since our elected officials seem incapable of caring for the people of this country and can only care for the major donors of this country, it is falling on the business leaders to care for the people. Business is supported one purchase at a time. Oddly, a far more democratic base then the politicians.

      1. That’s funny, I didn’t think about LGBTQ issues at all. I thought MDN were referring to Cook’s sanctimonious blather about the huge value that illegal aliens bring to our country. Actually, it’s HUGE CRIME RATES*, but I digress.

        Since well before the election, I’ve been explaining Trump’s position and why the likes of Tim Cook supported his crooked, perennial failure of an opponent:

        For Silicon Valley and Apple’s Tim Cook, it’s all about H-1B visas and cheap labor.

        American companies and their shareholders, in general, want skilled labor as CHEAPLY as possible. That’s a main reason why Tim Cook, Apple and other tech firms backed the loser Clinton – they wanted unlimited H-1Bs to continue, so they can pay Ajeet from India half what they’d have to pay Tom from Tulsa who can’t find a job after graduating from college and has to live in his parents basement because Apple got Ajeet from India to do it on the CHEAP.

        H1-B visas for skilled workers DO NOT EQUAL uneducated illegal aliens streaming across the southern border intent on cashing in on American taxpayer’s largesse while setting up shop in the domestic drug trade and/or other crimes (gangs, rape, robbery, etc.).

        President Trump is for upholding the laws already on the books designed to protect our borders and our nation’s sovereignty.

        *In U.S. federal crime convictions, non-citizens were responsible for 22 percent of all murder, 18 percent of fraud, 33 percent of money laundering, 29 percent of drug trafficking, and 72 percent of all drug possession convictions. Source: U.S. DOJ, December 21, 2017

  2. This is BS again. Everybody tries to attack Apple and Tim to bring the stock price down before Apple releases it´s stellar Q1 2018 results. Move on nothing to see here.

    HomePod was btw delayed because of the Shazam. It took longer to finalize the deal. They have to quickly add things to Siri. Other delays are because of the Intel and so on. Blaming Tim for this is ridiculous. Tim Cook has made the Apple what it is now since he was the COO and basically run the company and now when he is the the CEO. Apple is stronger than ever.

    1. What’s scared to me most is there are so many fake news either in tech or in event news. Where is honesty in journalism?.
      Journalists underestimated readers intelligence. They just stupid threw out whatever editors asked them to do.

    2. This is not fake news. Apple has basically been skating by on the Steve Jobs iPhone miracle for some time. As MDN regularly says, Steve Balmer could be running the company now and get similar results.

      Few other companies could get away with the litany of bugs, screwups, missed ship dates, bizarre service offerings like reality TV, and platform neglect that has become the standard for Apple. Not to mention their propensity for ignoring the desires of customers.

      It’s like watching a bizarro Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in which the best engineers have been replaced by marketing oompa loompas, asshole fanboys compete for golden tickets, while everyone is forced to listen to Tim Cook singing.

  3. What has happened at Apple is commonly what happens after the founding generation has left the company. It happens over and over.

    Read this quote:
    “A recent study by three professors at Purdue’s Krannert School of Management is part of a growing mountain of evidence of the superior and more lasting performance of companies where the founder still plays a significant role as CEO, chairman, board member, or owner or adviser. Specifically, the study found that S&P 500 companies where the founder is still CEO are more innovative, generate 31% more patents, create patents that are more valuable, and are more likely to make bold investments to renew and adapt the business model — demonstrating a willingness to take risk to invent the future.”

    https://hbr.org/2016/03/founder-led-companies-outperform-the-rest-heres-why

  4. Apple became successful by designing cars and making award-winning TV shows. Why do people think they should focus on tech gadgets like headphones, speakers, computers, etc?

  5. I think you can mitigate a lot of it by comparing how much larger Apple is now than it was previously. Ramping things up to the levels of sales they’re now achieving it quite a different thing than it used to be. The HomePod is different though. I think they’ve really misjudged the market. As well as losing sales over Christmas I think they’ve given themselves a lot more to do by not having products that span price ranges. I know you can use Siri with the Apple TV remote, but would it have really been difficult to add a “Hey Siri” option to Apple TV or some other small device? I’ve got three Apple TV’s currently in my house, some of them are older models that I’ve just shifted to other rooms as I’ve got a new one, almost by accident they’ve created an ecosystem within my household which is why I think it’s important they don’t completely abandon the older models. Apple TV remains useful even if it’s not the most current version – especially in larger households. I’m not going to go out and replace a handful of them each time they do an update. Homepod seems like overkill in many ways, I’m unlikely to buy one, but even if I did I’m definitely not going to buy more than one, even people with the money don’t need one in every room, but the functionality of the Amazon/Google devices is useful. Apple need to cover more bases – especially when it comes to home automation.

  6. Apple is missing the competitive fire and the fierce commitment to deliver the best customer experience on all products, that it had under Steve Jobs. Some change with a new CEO is to be expected, but for Apple to have this casual attitude about new and existing products, leaving many without any upgrades for 3 and 4 years at a time, is the exact opposite of the Steve Jobs mission objective. And so is the greed which Tim Cook and Angela Ahrendts both display.

    1. Exactly.
      Apple lost its mojo and forgot its DNA. It became a one pony trick company, overly concentrating on iPhone and iOS. From selling this small device, Apple amassed a huge profit, swimming in the sea of cash. Yet… Cook and Co., does not seem to know how to take advantage of this opportunity and invest in the future growth. The modus operandi of Cook is a typical bean counter job. His background being a supply chain management, his investment is mostly about the snapping up of obscure companies that supply components for iPhone. He is too timid to take risk on bold move for strategic investment or acquisition for the future growth, like Amazon, Google and Tesla do. Bezos and Musk actually appear closer to the Apple’s DNA. It was criminal that Apple wasted time in acquiring apparent target to relieve their initial misery, Waze, losing it to Google, who already had much superior mapping business. And we never understand why he paid $3 billion huge dlrs for a little music man like Lovine and Dre. Rather than wasting that kind of money, it would have made so much more sense to acquire Spotify etc. (just as an example to illustrate the point. I do not know if Spotify is a good target). Relying on a single product is too risky. Phone business is rapidly reaching the plateau and the market will sooner or later go into bloody price competition. Cook is so timid and overly careful that he tightly control the inventory, which is a good practice for a manufacturer, but it’s a bean counter’s mentality. When he is not sure if the overpricing of the iPhoneX would be accepted in the market, he hypes it first, then probes the market reaction by incremental release of it, pretending it as a supply chain bottleneck. Once he is confident that people would spend that kind of money, alas, the delivery improved so rapidly. But nowhere in these trickeries, can we see any mojo that Apple used to have. Sorry for ranting, but I am eagerly waiting for a real “Apple-esque” messiah who would bring back the excitement of the yesteryears.

      1. Steve Jobs did not favor big acquisitions. Under Jobs Apple bought lots of proprietary and important technology, like from PA Semi. Elon Musk is a huckster who since Tesla has operated on playing to favored themes to win huge government subsidies. He is always about selling the future but never making profits now. I would be happy if Apple could simply keep its current lineup up to date and stop scrapping important product lines like the Airport and letting the TV languish. It is really pathetic.

  7. I don’t think Cook is greedy. I think he spends too much effort on his political views. Mainly as they relate to the queer agenda. That’s not your job Tim, no matter how passionate you are about it. Take a deep breath, look hard at Apple’s delays, especially with Mac Pro development.

    1. Whatever Tim Cook’s issues are as CEO I don’t think spending all his time elsewhere ruminating on social or gay issues is one of them. A disingenuous and specious observation to say the least. Pure unfounded & hateful speculation. That said I think it comes from perhaps (MY speculation) of giving too much power delegated to his lieutenants and not being more hands on as Steve Jobs was.

      1. Actually Tim Cooks whining and annoying lecturing of his customers and stockholders about allowing men into the North Carolina little girls rooms and allowing illegals to come and stay and commit crimes with no repercussions is very well documented. And global warming and affirmative action etc etc etc. Cook is a constant political nag.

    1. Yes it is! Yes it is! It’s what capitalism is all about! AAPL has done well for me and I thank Tim wholeheartedly for him keeping Apple on course and growing with fine products and services! I was just a public school teacher with zero resources, but thanks to Tim, I just bought a 2.2 million dollar house on the water and it is fantastic! And fuck trump, Apple stock was up before his unfortunate arrival on the scene and continues to go up base on Apple’s achievements alone. GREAT PRODUCTS! GREAT PRIVACY AND SECURITY! GREAT SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY! GO APPLE! GO TIM COOK! Thanks Tim form my wonderful prosperity. And fuck you trump.

  8. Wah, wah, wah! Tempest in a teapot. Apple is doing superlative, love their new products! I can wait when Apple needs the time to fix problems. I will not give my money to shiteous, data stealing amazon or google, I can wait for homePod. No feelings of narcissistic entitlement in my heart. Love the job Tim Cook is doing. Don’t love so much the job MDN is doing. I have been following and enjoying MDN from its inception, but no more. MDN and the lapdog echo chamber sound more like distorted Android commenters than fans of the great work Tim has done and continues to do. When compared to competitors, show me a company that executes better in the hardware and software business. And don’t tell me about Bezo and amazon whose tech products are simplistic compared to the platform Apple has created. Why not expend your efforts on Microsoft whose perpetually flawed platform has required an army of IT goons just to keep the flaws in check. An effort that has cost the world hundreds of billions if not a trillion + dollars over the decades just to keep protected from Microsofts vulnerabilities. There should be worldwide outrage and class action lawsuits enough to bankrupt MS over their negligent, late and no-show products. It’s a worldwide tech trainwreak and yet it is generally accepted that MS products have acceptable flaws that we should be expected to pay endless amounts to fix. Do Apple products require an ongoing army to fix or to keep you protected? No, of course not. No other company in the world does more to do right for their customers. They take responsibility like no other. They never purposely leave their customers hanging. MDN on the other hand has had numerous problems with their website over the years and has generated an uncountable number of sloppy typos in both the body of their articles and even I their headlines over the years. They often can’t even copy and paste text from some other source’s website without error and yet they call out Apple and Tim Cook over mistakes made in the production of the most sophisticated platform ever. Which of you commenters or MDN editors has ever accomplished even a nano fraction of the achievements of Tim Cook? MDN can’t even write their own articles! MDN has made a business out of the simple task of copying a chunk of someone else’s work and making snarky comments about it. Now that’s real achievement! So blah, blah, blah MDN, keep taping your kegs and blathering your delusional armchair superiority.

    1. Thanks, Tim.

      Now, how about focusing on Apple Inc. instead of the rainforest or whales or baby seals or mentally ill trannys in little girls’ bathrooms or whatever progressive bullshit you’re all cocked up about today.

      DO YOUR JOB.

  9. Apple have had significantly worse delays in the past. People had to wait months for the G4 Cube, first metal Powerbook G4, the G5 Mac Pro.
    In those cases those were the primary new product that a large proportion of revenue depended on. All when SJ was CEO.
    Apple is much better in dealing with its frontline products. I agree that delays are annoying but in the case of the AirPods I think this was due to higher than expected demand and need to ramp up production to a greater level. AirPods are a great success and having supply issues at launch in retrospect is not surprising.
    As for HomePod, it makes more sense to delay for the Shazam deal to be finalize. This in itself makes the product more attractive if Shazam is a frontline service in the HomePod.
    I know everyone gets bent out of shape with the MacPro but remember this will only sell 50K units per quarter. Priority has to be to get higher volume products out on time.

  10. I think people need to stop whining. So there have been some products that have been delayed. Its a loose/loose situation with you. If they announce a product too early and have to delay it then Tim Cook should be fired. If they rush a product and it is a hot mess then Tim Cook should be fired. If they decide to not announce the product until it is ready then Tim Cook should be fire.

    As an Apple Fan Boy it does “suck” when a product is delayed but I would rather have a delayed product than a bad product. When Apple starts to release products that are rushed just to make a deadline then that is when Tim Cook should be fired.

    These stories come and go just trying to drive the share price down. It is all a game. Tim has based most of his compensation on his performance/stock performance. So MDN, don’t blame Tim for making too much money. Blame all the customers that are buying the products and loving them and then blame the investors for driving up the stock price…. #FakeNews

  11. Back in the days, Apple was appreciated for their fast launch of products without having consumers wait for too long. Apple usually launch (made products actually available with sufficient stock level), well prepared, in a matter of 2 weeks etc. It was actually a competitive advantage over others. It’s all about their effort to “please” consumers, not doing anything at the “sacrifice” of consumers. The fact that this launch delay even becomes the subject of whining is the clear indication that it was not like this in the past. So, I would say Cook is guilty. He is essentially “money” oriented, but not necessarily the “consumer” oriented.

    1. Yes, true. Products did come out faster after the announcement but these devices today are packing in higher end technology and are selling at insane levels. Not to mention Apple is able to get into more countries with these products faster then they have in the past.

      Side note: I love how the original article said that the Apple watch was late because it was promised in “Early 2015” but came out in April that year. Last time I checked April is early 2015…

      1. Traditionally, “early” in a calendar year means in the first quarter. Sorry, but Apple blew it. When you’re an industry gorilla, however, you stop caring about details. Apologists who claim that every thing is bigger and more complicated now are forgetting the reality that:

        1) Apple has infinitely more resources to manage its product lines. It has intentionally chosen instead to play wall street money games.
        2) Apple used to under promise and over deliver on product capability and availability. it now attempts to freeze the competition’s sales with promises that Apple seldom delivers to. That has been obvious since the day Jobs died. I recall there was a guy Mike the on these making that point and being attacked for it. Well he was right and now people are attacking Cook more than Mike ever did.
        3) Apple can’t even get the basics right, let alone the complex stuff. Macs don’t have to be complicated. Airport and displays wouldn’t take much effort to keep top notch. Instead Apple retreats. It kills functionality to make things thin. Instead of making iCloud just work, It outsources the patchwork of iCloud functions to its enemies. It makes Foxconn rich instead of owning and geographically diversifying its production. This is not rocket science, but Apple claims it to be and the flops of execution are piling up.

        If Apple achieves a $1 trillion US cap this year, I expect the lazy executives to spend the year congratulating themselves and hosting mega parties in their 6th mansions and new yachts. But I don’t expect to see a customer focus that Jobs had ever again. Not under Apple’s current pathetic leadership.

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