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. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Talk about delays and mistakes. The abondoment of the Apple ecosystem is a big one. And why can’t we some emphasis on the iMac, I don’t mean some super duper very expensive thing, but the ones that most of us can afford to buy. How about minimum 500 GB SSD drives for starters.

  6. I don’t want to be the perpetual Tim Cook defender, but I don’t think that we can fully grasp the enormity of what Apple is.

    Back in the early ’90s I had a friend who was a UPS exec and I asked him why they didn’t capitalize more on cellular technology, as my small company had. His comment was that should UPS begin equipping each of their drivers/trucks with cell phones that their cell phone order (at that time) would take two to three years to fulfill, they would be the worlds largest cell phone user and it would require an army of support staff (I can’t remember the exact number).

    I bring this up because when Apple moves into a market they need to plan for selling 200million of something. Often that means the complete worldwide output of some products etc. or of product that are just being invented.

    If they waited until they had every detail sorted they would be accused of being too huge to react, but when they miss a deadline they are pathetically un nimble.

    I imagine that this is a whole lot harder than it looks, and in the final analysis, they are still, historically, incredibly successful. How cool to have that much room for improvement and still be the most profitable company ever.

    Talk about a first world problem.

  7. I have been saying for YEARS he needs to GO!
    I am major investor in AAPL. My patience for this guy is over.
    I even wrote a well-thought suggestion that got rejected by Apple on their “suggestion’ board:

    Dear Apple,

    1 – MacPro
    Update the MacPro every year with any updates that exist – more ram, faster graphics, MORE I/O ( not less ), more storage, expandability and upgradability. THIS is what a PRO user wants and needs. No reason not to update this yearly. In the Q1 timeframe, a time when companies allocate funds towards equipment and the consumer market slows down. It’s not a fluke why the consumer electronics show, NAMM, auto show, etc.. all pimp new products in Jan/Feb.. now sell to them.

    2 – Displays
    No reason to blow this market off. You proudly advertise how great your retina display is, yet you ignore making a desktop one? Confusing. Make displays to compliment your MacPro and MacMini. Not to mention having a Apple logo in front of millions of users doesn’t help sustain the brand in people’s minds.

    3 – Mac Mini
    I still think this product is used and should still be made, just update it.

    4 – iMac
    WHY is this not a priority to Apple? Make NEW iMacs every year. Announce AND release it in Q3 for the Holiday season; and make sure you manufacturer enough to meet the demand.

    5 – iPhone
    Increase battery life. More innovation. Don’t neglect the 4″ size, just because Samsung made you think the world wants huge phones… not everyone does. Loose the “s”, it makes no sense on the marketing side to the consumer. And if you are going to do a whole keynote and release a new model, make sure it has more than “look how thin it is”

    6 – iWatch
    Utilize the board of directors you built on this device to help recognize heart attack and stroke symptoms before they happen. Having the watch excel in the medical and health field will reap dividends for years to come… making it a must-have product.

    7 – AppleTV
    The i/o again is lacking for systems that run like Control4 that needs better options for i/o.
    Get the deals done with the networks to help consumers rid the stranglehold on cable companies that over-charge for a million channels.

    8 – MacBook Pro
    Bring back i/o!!!!
    If you want to be respected as a PRO machine, allow there PROS to USE it without 1,000 cables coming out of it. Pro users do not want to deal with dongles.

    9 – MacBook / MacBook Air
    just give them a refresh more often than 3 years
    I really don’t understand the difficulty to update these yearly, without the need for a re-design…

    10 – Stock
    Keep buying back diluted shares so it’s harder to be manipulated. AAPL is one of the most manipulated stocks on the market.

    11- Aquisitions
    Make sure what you are looking to acquire is not something Apple can achieve on it’s own with the talent within. (See Beats). And whoever is negotiating these deals needs to grow a pair and learn how to get better deals and not waste so much money on some of these companies. When I see what Apple pays for these acquisitions, I shake my head. Paying $3B for beats was a terrible decision.
    Tim didn’t get the memo that Apple CREATES ecosystems and doesn’t just buy them.
    If you’re gonna acquire a company, acquire Adobe; for the assets.

    12 – Diversify Manufacturing
    Apple needs to diversify manufacturing to more than one resource to meet the demand. Be the leader in bringing back manufacturing on a large scale back to America. Utilize China, Mexico and India to meet demand for products so the consumer can purchase the products you are advertising.

    13 – Advertising
    More money needs to be spent on Advertising and aggressive advertising. Apple has gotten a little weak on ads. Marketing is everything.

    14 – iTunes
    Fix iTunes. It’s such a pain and over-bloated. iTunes 2010 runs better than iTunes 2017… that is messed up.

    15 – Software
    Fix Mail. Fix spotlight. Bring back Aperture.
    Allocate staff to interact with users of your software and aggressively update them based on the users input. It’s not that difficult.. the users will give you the answers to the quiz. Listen to them and your software will shine.

    16 – iCloud
    This is kind of embarrassing. Other companies offer better services for less money. it almost makes more sense to roll $5 – $10 more into each product and offer iCloud for free with a generous space to sustain the
    user base, offering tons of services with all that content. 1TB free is what I would offer.

    17 – Retail
    Allocate more employees to help people at the help desk. Every store I go in has 10-20 sales people, mostly talking to one another, meanwhile 2-3 tech people are backlogged with pissed off customers. This is mis-managed and can be better handled.

    18 – Keynotes
    Tim, step aside and let someone with passion, excitement and a great stage excitement do the keynotes. Make them count. Don’t assemble the press and your fan base to come to one of these events to tell them the new iPhone is thinner. Don’t waste everyone’s time and understand when you have the stage.. perform… sell… and if you lack things to talk about, then it should be telling to your allocation of the talent around you and how you utilized them.

    19 – Apple Pay
    WHY is this not being advertised like crazy? No excuse for the lazy approach to this. Advertise this everywhere. Co-Brand with world brands. Do a co-brand commercial with subway showing people buying a sandwich and paying with their phone in seconds. Show how easy and secure it is. Almost every person I tell about Apple Pay has no clue about how much more secure it is than the other choices. Even the retail staff doesn’t know. Who’s job is that to tell them? Apple! Run ads showcasing that strength.

    20 – HomeKit
    See how users use products like Control4 and start building the ecosystem for that. I feel this, along with CarPlay, can be a game-changer if done right. You create great things like HomeKit, yet trying to educate the consumer about it is lacking. There should a fun section on the website all about these technologies you have. Consumers should not have to dig for that info. The website and marketing should be promoting them more aggressively. This is a under utilized sector for Apple.

    21 – iPad
    iPad should be updated every year and announced and released Q3 for holiday quarter sales.

    22 – R&D
    Make sure the products are tested enough so you don’t have issues after the release (see maps, EarPods, macbook pro 2016 battery, etc.. )

    23 – Fix your Christmas failures
    2017 – missed releasing HomePod release for Christmas
    2016 – missed AirPod inventory to sell
    2015 – missed inventory on iPhone to meet demand
    2014 – missed iMac inventory to sell thru Christmas
    This is a ongoing problem. The date for Christmas has not changed in 2017 years.
    Take around 1% of your revenue $200 – $250B and hire 50,000 workers averaging $50,000 each
    and diversify them into manufacturing plants: 20,000 in the U.S., 10,000 in China, 10,000 in Mexico and
    10,000 in India to meet your product demand so the cycles of the products are announced, released and
    exercised in ONE financial quarter so your analytic data points are more accurate sand consumers are better served.

    24 – Better communication
    Way too many PR nightmare from one CEO for such a small sku product line. Throttling the iOS without
    letting people know was one of the worst executions this company has ever done.. again under Tim Cook.

    Those are some of my ideas.
    Richard Hofherr
    —-

    Hi RICHARD (Richie Hofherr),
    Thanks for participating in the Apple Support Communities.

    We’ve removed your post Dear Apple because it contained either feedback or a feature request that was not constructive.

    If you have comments about any of our products, we welcome your feedback: Apple – Feedback

    Thanks,
    Apple Support Communities Staff

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