Apple unable to meet rising MacBook demand

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple Computer is once again facing a problem that it has become all too familiar with -- not enough supply of its most popular products to meet growing demand.



In particular, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company this month is reportedly struggling to fill orders for its consumer-oriented MacBook notebooks, which are arguably its most popular new product of the year.



Weighing on the Mac maker is the back-to-school shopping bonanza, a potentially lucrative period each year in which student buyers willingly plunk down chunks of cash for the latest computer systems before the start of fall classes.



This year, Apple's MacBooks are being billed as a hot ticket, but the company (or one of its component suppliers) has seemingly underestimated demand. Many customers who were expecting to receive previously-placed orders for the 13-inch Intel notebooks by this week got something else instead -- an apology letter from Apple stating that it would be unable to fill orders within the timeframe it had promised.



"I ordered a MacBook over the weekend," said one customer. "The order was to be processed in 5-8 days. I just got an apology letter from Apple saying they would not be able to meet that order fulfillment deadline."



It's unclear how far back the MacBook backlog stretches, but customers who custom-configured their systems with added memory and hard drive space are reporting delays up to two weeks from when they first placed their orders.



"I ordered a MacBook a week ago with a promise of shipping within 24 hours. The ship date was then set for yesterday (8/21)," another customer said. "I have now recieved notice that my computer won't ship until a week from today (8/29)."



The insufficient supply of MacBooks is not necessarily a new problem. During a recent conference call, Apple executives said that despite shipping as many units as it could during the spring, the company still exited its June quarter with backlog. However, they anticipated reaching a supply and demand balance on the notebooks by the end of September.



In general, sales of Apple's notebook computers have been on the up and up this year, with the company's share of the US notebook marketing doubling to 12 percent during the six-month period ending June. Though it did not fulfill all of its notebook orders during its most recent quarter, they company still shipped a record 800,000 units.



In an attempt to form a long-term solution to its notebook supply difficulties, the Mac maker has been scouring the far east for a third manufacturing partner to compliment current partners, Asustek and Quanta. With insiders believing Apple holds the potential to sell upwards of 1 million notebook systems during its December holiday quarter, the company will surely need the added help.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    Does 15 percent marketshare seem reasonable?
  • Reply 2 of 51
    Holy Rigatoni!



    While this is a slight problem, it is a much better one to have than Dell where they are sitting on extra capacity they are not utilizing. Selling every computer you make quickly is good for profits.



    We are going to have another great earnings report come out in October when we find out exactly how many more they sold than were expected. I have a feeling it's a lot!



    The Apple Store has ship times of 3-5 days on all MacBooks, even the Black MacBook with its higher price (for almost no extra features, black dye must be expensive ;-).
  • Reply 3 of 51
    This isn't a surprise. Every time Apple comes out with a hot new product there is some sort of backlog - it's just a matter of guessing how big it will be and how fast it develops. The biggest challenge on the MB is the need to get it the hands of students heading to school as delivery to a dorm isn't the easiest thing to do.
  • Reply 4 of 51
    Do like I did... I got money for expedited shipping back and 50 bucks back on my card for my hassles!
  • Reply 5 of 51
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacCentric


    While this is a slight problem, it is a much better one to have than Dell where they are sitting on extra capacity they are not utilizing. Selling every computer you make quickly is good for profits.



    Huh? I thought optimized, build-to-order production is Dell's defining characteristic and strongest point. That is how they earned their fame and marketshare, anyway.
  • Reply 6 of 51
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacCentric


    Holy Rigatoni!



    While this is a slight problem, it is a much better one to have than Dell where they are sitting on extra capacity they are not utilizing. Selling every computer you make quickly is good for profits..



    Unless, of course, people looking to buy now decide to go with a competitor who can actually deliver in a reasonable timeframe, if not tomorrow.
  • Reply 7 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by theapplegenius


    Does 15 percent marketshare seem reasonable?





    If you take 800,000 units at 12% of the total market, you're looking at roughly 6.7mil/quarter total sales - Apple would have to ramp up production 205,000 units - and that's a 25% increase over current levels.



    Seems aggressive to me.
  • Reply 8 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Louzer


    Unless, of course, people looking to buy now decide to go with a competitor who can actually deliver in a reasonable timeframe, if not tomorrow.



    How many people, after having placed an order are going to cancel the order and go shopping for a new one? I doubt anybody would. Especcially if it's a macBook.
  • Reply 9 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kenaustus


    This isn't a surprise. Every time Apple comes out with a hot new product there is some sort of backlog - it's just a matter of guessing how big it will be and how fast it develops. The biggest challenge on the MB is the need to get it the hands of students heading to school as delivery to a dorm isn't the easiest thing to do.



    Except this particular product came out in - what - May ? It's pretty unusual for them to have supply problems this far on, which must mean that it's selling like a crazy thing, and that's good news.
  • Reply 10 of 51
    boogabooga Posts: 1,072member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by theapplegenius


    Does 15 percent marketshare seem reasonable?



    Depends how you count market share. Apple claimed 12% of the US retail laptop market, but obviously that doesn't include Dell or other direct-shippers, or desktops. In overall US market share, they're still in the ballpark of 5% and worldwide something like 3%. There's no way they can ramp up 3-5x production rate in a few months, so they can't possibly reach 15% overall market share anytime soon, let alone really challenge Wintel (or LinAMD for that matter).
  • Reply 11 of 51
    I highly doubt there are more more Linux laptops out there than Mactels, much less all Macs altogether.
  • Reply 12 of 51
    leonardleonard Posts: 528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Louzer


    Unless, of course, people looking to buy now decide to go with a competitor who can actually deliver in a reasonable timeframe, if not tomorrow.



    Yeah, I think in today's online marketplace where you can buy something and receive it tomorrow, Apple's backlog is hurting them. There are alot of frustrated buyers that just turn to another alternative. Apple ends up losing customers.
  • Reply 13 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay


    How many people, after having placed an order are going to cancel the order and go shopping for a new one? I doubt anybody would. Especcially if it's a macBook.



    you'd think so for a typical Mac user - but may not for a typical switcher case. Or typical Parent buying for school case.



    The Answer: It is time for Licensing... Steve should just phone up Micky D. and get him to sort it out. LOL..
  • Reply 14 of 51
    Dell MacBooks: EXPLODING with new features!
  • Reply 15 of 51
    dcqdcq Posts: 349member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga


    Depends how you count market share. Apple claimed 12% of the US retail laptop market, but obviously that doesn't include Dell or other direct-shippers, or desktops. In overall US market share, they're still in the ballpark of 5% and worldwide something like 3%. There's no way they can ramp up 3-5x production rate in a few months, so they can't possibly reach 15% overall market share anytime soon, let alone really challenge Wintel (or LinAMD for that matter).



    Retail does include online sales. (If the number didn't Dell and Amazon, someone would create a measure that did.) It does not include value-added resellers, a relatively small percentage. It also doesn't include DIY computers (which, admittedly, is difficult to do with laptops, so that's also a small number). I'm pretty sure it also doesn't include large corporate and government (including school) purchases. But given that Macs have a larger marketshare in education, and a smaller share in business, it probably all equals out.



    Yes, that means roughly one out of every ten new laptop buyers in the US is buying a Mac.
  • Reply 16 of 51
    dcqdcq Posts: 349member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sybersport


    If you take 800,000 units at 12% of the total market, you're looking at roughly 6.7mil/quarter total sales - Apple would have to ramp up production 205,000 units - and that's a 25% increase over current levels.



    Seems aggressive to me.



    Given a static market. In an expanding market, they'd have to sell even more.



    BTW, and easier way to do you math would have been to realize that increasing from 12% to 15% means increasing 25%. No need to extrapolate the 6.7 million figure.
  • Reply 17 of 51
    Not to knock Apple, but the most likely reason for the backlog is the surge in orders for back to school - I'm sure a LOT of students (and educational institutions) were waiting until the last minute just to make sure Apple didn't revise the Macbook's with any upgrades... couldn't imagine what that could be.



    It's obvious the Macbook is popular though... and rightfully so.
  • Reply 18 of 51
    festefeste Posts: 17member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sybersport


    If you take 800,000 units at 12% of the total market, you're looking at roughly 6.7mil/quarter total sales - Apple would have to ramp up production 205,000 units - and that's a 25% increase over current levels.



    Seems aggressive to me.



    Well, of course it's a 25% increase over current levels--15 is 25% more than 12. It would be a 25% increase over current levels no matter what current levels were...
  • Reply 19 of 51
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Let's remember that these are for custom MacBooks from Apple's online store. You can probably still buy a "stock" version very quickly at any CompUSA, brick and mortar Apple Store, MacMall, etc.
  • Reply 20 of 51
    i waited, wish i just ordered it last week like i was going to and i'd have it now, as opposed to 3 weeks from now >:^(
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