Tim Cook admits he wishes Apple had held launch of new iMac until 2013

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
In a rare public admission of hindsight, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Tuesday that he wishes his company had waited until 2013 to launch its redesigned iMac, which remained in short supply through the end of 2012.

Speaking with investors and analysts during his company's quarterly earnings conference call, Cook said he doesn't spend a lot of time looking back "except to learn." But in response to a question from Mark Moskowitz of J.P. Morgan, Cook admitted that Apple may have pushed to launch its new iMac too soon at the end of 2012.

iMac


"We felt our customers had to wait too long," he admitted.

While the iPad mini was in short supply throughout the December quarter, Apple was still able to ship the 7.9-inch tablet to millions of customers. The same could not be said for the all-in-one iMac, which was given a major redesign with a thinner profile.

"In retrospect, yes, I sort of wish we had done it after the turn of the year," Cook said. "Customers wouldn't have had to have waited as long as they did."

The new iMac was plagued with production issues when the desktop went on sale in December. It was reported that those issues came from a unique screen lamination process Apple has employed in its new design, allowing the desktop to sport a much thinner profile than its predecessor.

In the December quarter, Mac sales were off 17 percent year over year to 4.1 million ? a loss that Apple attributed mostly to a lack of availability of the new iMac. This quarter, with iMac availability vastly improved, and sales were about flat year over year at just under 4 million.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Aside from no preorders (the frick was up with that, Tim?) you did the right thing. Rather have people whine about something they've already ordered, know exist, and know they're getting than to whine about "been a year since the last update and the chips are out; where's the machine I know exists that you're hiding from me?"

  • Reply 2 of 70
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    1) From a business standpoint, I wholeheartedly agree.

    2) From the standpoint of a customer who loves his new 27" iMac, I'm glad I didn't have to wait longer for it.

    3) This makes me wonder if this might push Cook to hold off other new products to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again. This might explain why there has been an extra long delay between events. Perhaps Cook's "doubling down on secrecy" means he wants even less of a lead time between an event and the release of a product.
  • Reply 3 of 70
    zoffdinozoffdino Posts: 192member
    Could have launch the old design with Ivy Bridge in June, when they launch the MBP Retina. Putting a new chip into the old case would have been ridiculously easy at that point. Then wait till Haswell and launch the redesign. Intel's tick and Apple leap. Give them 6 months to perfect production. All would have been happy. Yeah, Cook blew this call.
  • Reply 4 of 70
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,289member


    I'm neutral on the whole iMac fiasco.  However, kudos for Cook to look at it as an opportunity to do better.



    It would not have made much difference in the big picture methink.  Whiners and trolls complaining that Apple wasn't updating the iMacs fast enough would simply turn right around and complain that Apple had the NERVE to update the iMacs right after the Christmas season.



    No way he could win.



    I'm waiting for the next iMac iteration before I decide to retire my 2009 iMac, which I still happily love using to this day.

  • Reply 5 of 70
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member
    What happened to their staggered release schedule? I think getting rid of it is an incredibly stupid strategy.
  • Reply 6 of 70
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post



    What happened to their staggered release schedule? I think getting rid of it is an incredibly stupid strategy.


    The release dates are likely set to sell the most devices (i.e., holiday shopping season).  What's the problem with having a long release date?  Apple products (e.g., iPod, iPhone, and iPad) have been updated on a yearly basis for over a decade now.  Where's the rationale for needing updates more often?  


     


    You've been sucked into the Wall Street propaganda trying to explain the decline in Apple stock.  The real problem is that Wall Street is stupidly bullish and stupidly pessimistic. Last fall Apple was overpriced, now its underpriced.  I don't think Apple should set its product release schedule to moderate the irrational behavior of Wall Street.

  • Reply 7 of 70
    gijoeinlagijoeinla Posts: 213member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    1) From a business standpoint, I wholeheartedly agree.

    2) From the standpoint of a customer who loves his new 27" iMac, I'm glad I didn't have to wait longer for it.

    3) This makes me wonder if this might push Cook to hold off other new products to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again. This might explain why there has been an extra long delay between events. Perhaps Cook's "doubling down on secrecy" means he wants even less of a lead time between an event and the release of a product.

    I'd bet on it.. Lets face it most of us are impulse buyers especially knuckleheads like me. On the other hand - having leeway between announce date and on sale date builds anticipation and millions of dollars in free media exposure... Personally I found on high ticket items that will change - but, but I'd bet the new Mac Pro will get a immediate release.. Why? It's off the market right now in Europe ...
  • Reply 8 of 70
    bregaladbregalad Posts: 816member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoffdino View Post



    Could have launch the old design with Ivy Bridge in June, when they launch the MBP Retina. Putting a new chip into the old case would have been ridiculously easy at that point. Then wait till Haswell and launch the redesign. Intel's tick and Apple leap. Give them 6 months to perfect production. All would have been happy. Yeah, Cook blew this call.


    This.


     


    The new design was clearly rushed to market before it was ready, but that's because they refused to do the easy thing and put Ivy Bridge into the old case in May 2012 when the chips became readily available. Instead Intel delivered new technology and Apple ignored it and their customers for 6 months.


     


    I think Apple has started believing the pundits who expect every product release to offer something revolutionary. Expecting something amazing every year is completely irrational.


     


    During most of Steve's reign Apple demonstrated a commitment to regular incremental product updates. It meant the truly innovative new products could be worked on until they met Steve's high standards. New designs were often launched at times when there was nothing new on the inside allowing Apple to hide the lack of technical progress and capture media attention twice as often. Customers knew they were safe buying when needed because in all likelihood the next release was going to be a lot like the current product. Products simply matured over time. Using a baseball analogy Steve Jobs' team hit for percentage and advanced the runners. They didn't swing for the fences. Their big hitters didn't join the existing game, they invented a whole new one. And they only did that about twice per decade.

  • Reply 9 of 70
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    gijoeinla wrote: »
    Why? It's off the market right now in Europe ...

    I think it'll happen shortly, but I'm more surprised it hasn't happened already since they knew the Mac Pro was coming off the market in Europe for whatever health reason thingy
  • Reply 10 of 70
    captain jcaptain j Posts: 313member
    Making products that so push the edge that you can't supply them in needed quantities is not a good thing. TC is correct in this case.
  • Reply 11 of 70
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member


    "If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough."


    - Mario Andretti

  • Reply 12 of 70
    zoffdinozoffdino Posts: 192member
    ash471 wrote: »
    The release dates are likely set to sell the most devices (i.e., holiday shopping season).  What's the problem with having a long release date?  Apple products (e.g., iPod, iPhone, and iPad) have been updated on a yearly basis for over a decade now.  Where's the rationale for needing updates more often?  

    To keep Apple inthe spot light. When you shove 6 products down people's throat in 1 month or two, they are overloaded wi information. There's no reason to come to the Apple during the rest of the year cause you don't hear what else is cool. At lastly, to make supply chain management easier when you ramp your product outside of the holiday rush
  • Reply 13 of 70
    irelandireland Posts: 17,459member
    But he doesn't wish the speakers weren't shit. Which they are. This is my forth iMac and it has by far the worst audio. I use it for music all the time while I work on it, I detest add-on speakers. It annoys me that innovation of the iMac has come to not rate audio quality as near as important as just plain thinness. Design is about trade offs and I can tell you they've made the wrong ones with this iMac. While the bass is good and the treble piercing, the mid range is completely gone and the whole sound sounds like it's been funnelled through a street construction cone, thanks to its thin chin. It was so bad when I first heard it I was actually in shock.
  • Reply 14 of 70
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    ireland wrote: »
    But he doesn't wish the speakers weren't shit. Which they are.

    The apple site says:
    Higher-fidelity sound and a larger soundstage.
    Even though the iMac enclosure is thinner than ever, the new built-in speakers deliver higher-fidelity sound than before. So when you’re listening to that new album, watching the latest flick, or playing your favorite action game, you’ll get immersive sound and a surprisingly wide soundstage.

    So that's bullocks?
  • Reply 15 of 70


    Odd that Tim Cook lacks prescience. I thought he was perfect. Now I'll have to sell off all my Apple stock until they hire a CEO whose foresight is as perfect as his hindsight. /s

  • Reply 16 of 70
    irelandireland Posts: 17,459member
    shogun wrote: »
    The apple site says:
    Higher-fidelity sound and a larger soundstage.
    Even though the iMac enclosure is thinner than ever, the new built-in speakers deliver higher-fidelity sound than before. So when you’re listening to that new album, watching the latest flick, or playing your favorite action game, you’ll get immersive sound and a surprisingly wide soundstage.

    So that's bullocks?

    Indeed it is.

    Rather than pasting in here what Apple marketing is telling you, why not consider the fact that I own the product and use it every day, owned the 3 previous models, and love the company. They don't just sound worse, they sound noticeably worse. You can put them it side by side with the previous model and it's laughable. I did just that, but you don't need to go that far, because it's totally obvious. I'm big into my music. Like I said, the best way to describe it is it's as if the music sounds like its being funnelled through a street construction cone thanks to the thin chin.
  • Reply 17 of 70
    gijoeinlagijoeinla Posts: 213member
    Is it me? WTH is up with the Wall Street Journal? I mean they are literally after Apples hide.. Is it me or is anyone seeing the vitriol spewing thick from them of late? Seriously
  • Reply 18 of 70
    gijoeinlagijoeinla Posts: 213member
    ireland wrote: »
    Indeed it is.

    Rather than pasting in here what Apple marketing is telling you, why not consider the fact that I own the product and use it every day, owned the 3 previous models, and love the company. They don't just sound worse, they sound noticeably worse. You can put them it side by side with the previous model and it's laughable. I did just that, but you don't need to go that far, because it's totally obvious. I'm big into my music. Like I said, the best way to describe it is it's as if the music sounds like its being funnelled through a street construction cone thanks to the thin chin.

    What I don't get is, if your so so dissatisfied and your a "long time customer" ( cuz I am for 20 years ) it's really really hard to comprehend you not taking it back - and don't play dumb - while not perfect -- they can easily see your product history and determine a solution to make u happier - if that's possible.. Um but since I work in entertainment here is L.A. Who in their right mind would even depend on internal speakers ??? That's like crying the MacMini speakers suck -- but that's expected -- duh -- that's why I easily AirPlay my audio to any receiver with Apple TV. Whaaaaaa.
  • Reply 19 of 70
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member


    Yeah, I was surprised when he said that.


    My inner response was "yes, me too Tim, me too." It was just one too many backlog problems. It really didn't look good for them.


    Oh well; Onward...

  • Reply 20 of 70
    irelandireland Posts: 17,459member
    gijoeinla wrote: »
    What I don't get is, if your so so dissatisfied and your a "long time customer" ( cuz I am for 20 years ) it's really really hard to comprehend you not taking it back - and don't play dumb - while not perfect -- they can easily see your product history and determine a solution to make u happier - if that's possible.. Um but since I work in entertainment here is L.A. Who in their right mind would even depend on internal speakers ??? That's like crying the MacMini speakers suck -- but that's expected -- duh -- that's why I easily AirPlay my audio to any receiver with Apple TV. Whaaaaaa.

    I debated even being honest with my speaker comment because you get replies like yours. Goodbye.
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