Wistron building MacBook Pro Touch Bars after original supplier falls short - report

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
Because of problems experienced by an initial supplier, Taiwan's Wistron is now handling at least some orders for the Touch Bar keyboard on the MacBook Pro, reports claimed on Tuesday.




Since the keyboard is difficult to build, its original supplier -- an unspecified company in Singapore -- was having trouble meeting Apple demand, according to the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, quoted by DigiTimes. It's not clear what percentage of orders Wistron might be taking.

In any case the first supplier's problems are allegedly partly to blame for delays in Pro shipments. When Apple announced its new models on Oct. 27, Touch Bar configurations were immediately saddled with a 2- to 3-week wait, which quickly stretched out to between 4 and 5 weeks.

The Touch Bar is a unique and complex piece of Apple hardware -- a multitouch display strip meant to replace function keys. The component has its own processor, the T1, and can present context-sensitive controls such as sliders and timelines. It even has Touch ID built in, supporting Apple Pay and fast logins.

Low yields of hinges and batteries may also be contributing to delays. Regardless, Apple has supposedly been "aggressive" about ramping up MacBook Pro orders, expecting high sales running into 2017.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,577member
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    pulseimagesschlackperkedel
  • Reply 2 of 15
    So the inards of the new MacBook Pro's are being built using cheap components?
    bdkennedy1002aylkperkedel
  • Reply 3 of 15
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,732member
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    Boy, there's a comment that came out of nowhere...
    nolamacguypscooter63watto_cobraDeelron
  • Reply 4 of 15
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,378member
    Nothing new here. Most new Apple products debut with availability issues because of low yields of one or two key components (like a display or custom silicon). Bringing on a second supplier can be prudent to improve availability, and also to drive cost competition between suppliers.

    All of these suppliers ramp up their production over time by improving processes, yield, etc. A lot of components are stockpiled during the production ramp before the product launch, and likely those stocks were depleted. In all cases, the bottlenecks alleviate after a few months.

    It's a likely explanation why Apple staggers the worldwide release dates for many of its products.
    nolamacguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    ive no idea if this is the issue, but maybe it's because of UFOs? perhaps noting the alignment of Saturn during the fall equinox might get them more reliable sources. 
    edited November 2016 tmayrandominternetpersonpscooter63fastasleepbadmonkstevehwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,460member
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    There's no evidence to suggest that Apple is demanding the lowest prices, only quality that meets a certain standard. The supplier sets the prices that Apple must negotiate against. It sounds like this Singapore company simply overestimated their own capabilities of producing the Touch Bar to Apple's standards. It is a new product after all, not built from stock components.
    tmaypscooter63badmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,562member
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 


    You assume Apple has aggressive pricing demand, actually Apple tends to pay more depending on the item. Supply assurance and quality has a higher value to Apple. They are not in the race to the bottom, so forcing price over supply can backfire. I know supplier will cut other customer off at the knees if you are paying a little more than the low guys.

    Again depending on the product, have more than one supplier is always a good thing. Considering this is a Apple design there could be challenges making it which were not see early one. It is not like there are a number of companies making this, but we know in a year or so there will be and all the PC guys will be trying to knock it off. They just need to convince MS to write software to make it work correctly.

    tmaypscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,591member
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    You're right: you're just guessing. And your experience doesn't include running a multi-billion dollar supply chain, so let's not pretend you have a clue what the problem is. 



    nolamacguyryanrutzenfastasleepstevehwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,577member
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    There's no evidence to suggest that Apple is demanding the lowest prices, only quality that meets a certain standard. The supplier sets the prices that Apple must negotiate against. It sounds like this Singapore company simply overestimated their own capabilities of producing the Touch Bar to Apple's standards. It is a new product after all, not built from stock components.
    I recall a number of recent articles claiming Apple to be demanding price concessions from various suppliers in order to maintain margins, so I wouldn't go so far as to say there's zero evidence. Two very recent examples are. . .
    http://www.iphonehacks.com/2016/07/apple-demanding-price-cuts-suppliers-due-slowdown-sales.html
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-19/apple-demanding-cost-cuts-suppliers-after-30-plunge-orders-digitimes

    In fact quite a few AI members chimed in on an article right here at Appleinsider
    http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/08/19/apple-reportedly-squeezing-iphone-7-parts-suppliers-for-better-pricing

    edited November 2016 perkedel
  • Reply 10 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,577member
    tmay said:
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    Boy, there's a comment that came out of nowhere...
    Not out of nowhere...
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-squeezes-parts-suppliers-to-protect-margins-1472713073
    perkedel
  • Reply 10 of 15
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    There's no evidence to suggest that Apple is demanding the lowest prices, only quality that meets a certain standard. The supplier sets the prices that Apple must negotiate against. It sounds like this Singapore company simply overestimated their own capabilities of producing the Touch Bar to Apple's standards. It is a new product after all, not built from stock components.
    I recall a number of recent articles claiming Apple to be demanding price concessions from various suppliers in order to maintain margins, so I wouldn't go so far as to say there's zero evidence. Two very recent examples are. . .
    http://www.iphonehacks.com/2016/07/apple-demanding-price-cuts-suppliers-due-slowdown-sales.html
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-19/apple-demanding-cost-cuts-suppliers-after-30-plunge-orders-digitimes
    citing rumors to back up assertions -- yeah thats not really how it works. thanks for the laugh.
    tmayfastasleepstevehwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,577member
    maestro64 said:
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 


    You assume Apple has aggressive pricing demand, actually Apple tends to pay more depending on the item. 

    I've not ever seen mention that Apple will willingly pay more than other companies for similar components. Where did you read that? I think you may also be surmising just as I am. 
    edited November 2016 randominternetpersonrufwork
  • Reply 13 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,577member
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    There's no evidence to suggest that Apple is demanding the lowest prices, only quality that meets a certain standard. The supplier sets the prices that Apple must negotiate against. It sounds like this Singapore company simply overestimated their own capabilities of producing the Touch Bar to Apple's standards. It is a new product after all, not built from stock components.
    I recall a number of recent articles claiming Apple to be demanding price concessions from various suppliers in order to maintain margins, so I wouldn't go so far as to say there's zero evidence. Two very recent examples are. . .
    http://www.iphonehacks.com/2016/07/apple-demanding-price-cuts-suppliers-due-slowdown-sales.html
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-19/apple-demanding-cost-cuts-suppliers-after-30-plunge-orders-digitimes
    citing rumors to back up assertions -- yeah thats not really how it works. thanks for the laugh.
    What assertions are you talking about? Apparently not one from me.  I was very clear it was a guess, yet not without some basis for it. But you believe citing absolutely nothing while resorting to mockery is really how it works then? Well fair enough, I getcha. Reading can be time-consuming and cumbersome. Why bother when ridiculing someone's opinion is so much easier, eh? 
    edited November 2016 perkedelrandominternetperson
  • Reply 14 of 15
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,732member
    gatorguy said:
    tmay said:
    gatorguy said:
    I've no idea if this is the issue, just surmising, but the poor yield/quality issues could well be due to Apple's aggressive pricing demands from their suppliers. Perhaps paying a bit more might get them more reliable sources. The lowest price is so often not the best one to choose in my experience. 
    Boy, there's a comment that came out of nowhere...
    Not out of nowhere...
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-squeezes-parts-suppliers-to-protect-margins-1472713073
    You haven't been around much lately, so I'm surmising that you needed to stir things up; mission accomplished.

    MBP's are made up of lots of parts, but the part that the vendor in question is having problems with is decidedly new technology. As a fact, Apple has only made four OLED components prior to the Touch Bar; two screens for the first generation watch, and two for the second generation. Maybe the vendor is having issues with the margins that they are making, but there is no indication at all that this is the case, so you, in essence, are pulling this out of your ass.


  • Reply 15 of 15
    coolfactor said

    There's no evidence to suggest that Apple is demanding the lowest prices, only quality that meets a certain standard. The supplier sets the prices that Apple must negotiate against. It sounds like this Singapore company simply overestimated their own capabilities of producing the Touch Bar to Apple's standards. 
    To be fair to the OP, Apple sure didn't question that sapphire factory's insane plans a year or two back when the factory thought they could produce sapphire at a rate that's never been done before for less than the going rate. 

    That brilliance ended up producing little (and very expensive) sapphire and a bankrupt company. It did feel a little Wal-Martish at the time. 

    Apple also can make or break these companies' quarters with their fairly unpredictable orders. We get all sorts of stories about unexpected profits and losses with iPhone screens and chips and modems.

    So no, no evidence other than it happening before.
    edited November 2016 gatorguy
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