While I don't think this was orchestrated to embarrass Apple, the rest of your post is highly pertinent.
Apple is facing two challenges colliding to form the "perfect sh*tstorm". One is insatiable demand for products. The other is doing increased business in Asia.
US, Europe and Japan is a walk in the park compared to dealing with all levels of business in Asia... From rampant government, customs and immigration corruption through to greedy and/or disorganised suppliers, distributors and retailers in Asia.
In the developed world waiting 1 month or more before your iPhone 4 would even be looked at for service would make the national news. Here in Malaysia people have to just swallow it like the rest of the nonsense we deal with. China is probably even worse in several ways. But the thing is I've lived in Australia and the US, which is the curse that now I know better than those who have never left Asia for long.
The problem is compounded by the fact that since the iPhone 3G launch, even Europe was not handled that well. For example O2 in the UK having major launch day server issues (I was there at the Regent St store)... and virtually no iPhone 3G in Belgium for months and months, etc.
Remember that through this all Apple has ceded a lot of control over to the telcos and large-chain electronics retail as well. Which I believe has helped propel the iPhone and iPad to stellar heights but not without a price for certain people in certain countries.
If there is a "war" between iOS and Android, iPad and the rest, this is only the start of the collateral damage we are going to see. Microsoft and related businesses have built a trillion-dollar environment around the fact that it is just barely good enough and works just most of the time, and no real alternatives exist. While Apple may not sink so low, there will be sacrifices made for market share, as has already happened.
Originally Posted by niji
i have said it for the past 2 years.
apple does not adequately manage a supply chain that includes china, yet..
but china has an underside that works outside of laws and apple doesnt have the people operating on the ground in china to manage the result of that. for this apple is at fault. orchestrated events that are made to embarrass apple is one thing, but it can clearly escalate to innocent people getting hurt.
if apple cant manage including china in its supply chain better, then apple needs to focus on other markets first, in which brand potential can be grown.
suggestions for apple:
1/ delay product launches in china until adequate stocks are available
2/ no more launches of products at stores
3/ launches only handled through the web stores
4/ 1 item per order
5/ five or six months after web store launch, after the world-wide supply chain is coming into balance, allow sales at physical stores in china
no one gets hurt.
apple wont be playing into hands of organised crime.
orderliness is restored.
apple gets no bad publicity.
apple grows brand by getting product into hands of people just the same.
store launches at apple have become media events. apple needs to take responsibility for events that happen at them.
and get some people in china who know what they are doing.