Apple struggling to meet demand for new LED-lit notebooks

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
An ambitious move on the part of Apple Inc. to be amongst the first PC manufacturers to adopt eco-friendly LED backlit displays for its notebook designs is thus far causing the company slightly more grief than good.



The Cupertino-based Mac maker, which refreshed its MacBook Pro systems with Intel's Santa Rosa-based underpinnings during the first week of June, has yet to catch up with demand for the new LED-lit 15-inch models. In recent weeks, in fact, the firm appears to have fallen further behind.



The Apple online store, which once estimated delivery of the 15-inch models at 5 to 7 business days, has recently push those ETAs out to 7 to 10 business days. In favoring its own channels, the company has managed to funnel a trickling supply of the notebooks into its own retail stores. However, that has left most third party vendors on hold.



Some high-volume Apple dealers tell AppleInsider that thousand of units have remained on backorder since early June, while others claim they've yet to receive a single shipment of the new notebooks. In speaking to these dealers, Apple representatives have reportedly identified the new 15-inch LED backlit display panels as the root of the problem. However they stopped short of indicating whether the holdup is a result of an ongoing quality issue or simply supply constraints associated with the relatively new display lighting technology.



"In stock soon. Order now to get in line," online retailer Amazon.com has been telling customers shopping for the 2.4GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro. "First come, first served." Meanwhile, those looking for the entry-level 2.2GHz model are quoted slightly more favorable wait times of 4 to 5 days.



Over at OnSale.com, things aren't much different. The online discount shop, which is offering $150 mail-in-rebates on both current and previous generation MacBook Pros, had been completely out of stock for the past five weeks. Only in recent days has it begun reflecting immediate availability of the 2.2GHz model. Again, however, the retailer recommends that customers call in to check on availability of the 2.4GHz models.



Apple's move towards LED-backlit displays for its MacBook Pro systems is part of a broader company-wide commitment toward a greener Apple. Unlike traditional fluorescent-lit LCD display panels, which contain minute amounts of mercury, the new LED-lit panels are free of the potentially harmful toxin.







The Mac maker has said that it plans to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of mercury altogether by transitioning to LED backlighting for all its computer and consumer electronics displays "when technically and economically feasible." Its next foray into the realm of LED backlit mobile computing is expected to arrive later this year in the form of an ultra thin, ultra portable 13-inch design.



Given that both Wall Street analysts and AppleInsider have recently cited rising Mac sales -- particularly in the notebook department -- as recent growth drivers for Apple, it begs the question of how many more units the company could be pushing if it could truly meet demand.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 72
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,737member
    If the problem is due to demand rather than to defects, then it is a position that most manufacturers would love to be in.



    Nevertheless, it's not good to allow things to get out of control, and make people wait.
  • Reply 2 of 72
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Its next foray into the realm of LED backlit mobile computing is expected to arrive later this year in the form of an ultra thin, ultra portable 13-inch design.



    OMFG.



    How many times do I have to say it?!



    13" ISN'T ULTRA-PORTABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    Calling my crappy Nokia 3100 an iPhone doesn't make it one. Neither does calling a 13" MBP an ultra-portable! It will still carry nearly the same weight as the 13" MBs... that's 5.1 lbs, FYI.



    Wake up, you stupid lunatics!



    -Clive
  • Reply 3 of 72
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,737member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    OMFG.



    How many times do I have to say it?!



    13" ISN'T ULTRA-PORTABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    Calling my crappy Nokia 3100 an iPhone doesn't make it one. Neither does calling a 13" MBP an ultra-portable! It will still carry nearly the same weight as the 13" MBs... that's 5.1 lbs, FYI.



    Wake up, you stupid lunatics!



    -Clive



    Why do you assume it will weigh that much? It could weigh 3.5 pounds. Maybe not ultra, but fairly light.
  • Reply 4 of 72
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    So this past weekend I went to a local Apple store to pick up a new 15 MBP. Wanted the 7200RPM HD option but they didn't have any in stock and said that upgrade will have to be ordered through Apple.com. Fair enough. I ordered a 15" MBP with the upgraded HD and that only delayed shipping by 1 week. It's still set to arrive next week.
  • Reply 5 of 72
    tsvissertsvisser Posts: 36member
    i think the point is that even if it is 1 pound, it still isn't ultra portable. the ultra portable form factor has been established by products such as the Sony VGN-UX, OQO 002, Samsung Q, etc...
  • Reply 6 of 72
    glossgloss Posts: 506member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    OMFG.



    How many times do I have to say it?!



    13" ISN'T ULTRA-PORTABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    Calling my crappy Nokia 3100 an iPhone doesn't make it one. Neither does calling a 13" MBP an ultra-portable! It will still carry nearly the same weight as the 13" MBs... that's 5.1 lbs, FYI.



    Wake up, you stupid lunatics!



    -Clive



    Quote:

    ul´´-tra-pôrt´&-b&l) (n.) A class of laptop computer that is designed around its portability. Ultraportables typically weigh less than four pounds and, when closed, are 1.5? thin or thinner.



    So, yes, it damn well could be.



    Don't be so rude.
  • Reply 7 of 72
    ryanhryanh Posts: 116member
    Gross misuse of the term "begs the question."
  • Reply 8 of 72
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,737member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tsvisser View Post


    i think the point is that even if it is 1 pound, it still isn't ultra portable. the ultra portable form factor has been established by products such as the Sony VGN-UX, OQO 002, Samsung Q, etc...



    No,those are a different class altogether.
  • Reply 9 of 72
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gloss View Post


    So, yes, it damn well could be.



    Don't be so rude.



    Amen.
  • Reply 10 of 72
    festefeste Posts: 17member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ryanh View Post


    Gross misuse of the term "begs the question."



    Yeah, you noticed that too, huh? Well, okay not so much "misuse" as "completely incorrect use..."
  • Reply 11 of 72
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Why do you assume it will weigh that much? It could weigh 3.5 pounds. Maybe not ultra, but fairly light.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gloss View Post


    ul´´-tra-pôrt´&-b&l) (n.) A class of laptop computer that is designed around its portability. Ultraportables typically weigh less than four pounds and, when closed, are 1.5” thin or thinner.



    So, yes, it damn well could be.



    Don't be so rude.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nascarnate326 View Post


    Amen.



    Okay let's look at the required hardware for this device:



    Casing, display, keyboard/input, Mo-board, CPU, RAM, Wi-Fi, HDD, battery.



    The a large portion of weight within a laptop is the display. The size of the battery depends on the power requirements of the unit... one huge determining factor is the size of the display. The only thing Apple can do to dodge these two weight factors is to make the screen smaller. As for the casing, Apple would be making a smart move by using aluminum/titanium/whatever alloy. Keyboard/input, Mo-board, CPU, RAM Wi-Fi card are all fixed weights. I think we can all agree on these facts.



    At this point, the only difference between this device and the 13" MB is the presence of an optical bay, and a storage device. The storage device could be a 1.8" but then you're either forced to go with expensive SSD or the extremely fragile HDD. Let's assume Apple goes for the SSD. They'll save a matter of ounces. How about an Optical drive? How much does a slim DVD burner weigh? The heaviest one I could find was exactly one pound (most were around 0.6lbs. That would put this hypothetical optical-less, SSD MacBook at 4 lbs exactly.



    This is all very much beside the point.



    By Gloss' definition, it could be classified as ultra-portable. Sure we could eke past the definition of "ultra-portable" but that's not the point. My point is that the idiocy that occurs here is ridiculous. People on these forums chant "I won't buy a laptop until Apple makes an Ultra-Portable." That's ridiclous. Apple's current laptops are already under 1" and 5 lbs or so. What, you're waiting for them to be 4 lbs instead? Get real. That's like saying I have 2013 lb pile of cow s**t and that I shovel off 15 pounds. "Oh, now it's light because it's under a ton."



    "Ultra-portability" is not a definition, it's a characteristic. If Apple is going to make an "ultra-portable" it won't be a limb-sacrificed laptop. It'll be a device built from the ground up with portability in mind.



    I do think Apple will release a 13" laptop but it'll be a more-powerful MB with the bells and whistles of a MBP. It probably won't be under 4 lbs, but it will continue Apple's existing trend of developing lightweight, thin portables. Of course idiots around here will tout it as the Wu-rumored ultra-portable when it's a device no more portable than the 12" PB. That wasn't marketed as an ultra-portable and no one cared. Now it's a humoungous marketing scheme that you idios have fallen for.



    When this laptop arrives, don't make a fool of yourself and mistake it for an ultra-portable. If you do, you face my rapage once again.



    Remember: "Ultra-portability" is not a definition, it's a characteristic.



    -Clive
  • Reply 12 of 72
    ryanhryanh Posts: 116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feste View Post


    Yeah, you noticed that too, huh? Well, okay not so much "misuse" as "completely incorrect use..."



    Yeah, being a copy-editor/writer means I'm a grammar, spelling, and usage Nazi.



    That last statement illustrates that I'm pro-Oxford comma.



    Um ... Macs? Good stuff, eh?
  • Reply 13 of 72
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crees! View Post


    So this past weekend I went to a local Apple store to pick up a new 15 MBP. Wanted the 7200RPM HD option but they didn't have any in stock and said that upgrade will have to be ordered through Apple.com. Fair enough. I ordered a 15" MBP with the upgraded HD and that only delayed shipping by 1 week. It's still set to arrive next week.



    Crees,



    I ordered a 15" MBP with the 7.2k hard drive two and a half weeks ago, and it's still not shipped. But I've just gone onto the Apple store and it's still quoting 7-10 business days for shipping.



    I don't know that those estimated shipping dates are all that reliable. But, your mileage may vary.
  • Reply 14 of 72
    hohlecowhohlecow Posts: 50member
    i placed an order on july 6th for a 2.2 and it just shipped from shanghai today. yesterday was the latest it was estimated to ship by. finger's crossed that it gets here by saturday.



    they seemed to have them in the store, but I wanted some other items on the same receipt that weren't in stock in the store. it was kind of funny that I could place an order at the apple store online that the reps at the store couldn't do for me. I was hoping to walk out of the store with the items they had in stock and have the other one's shipped to me.
  • Reply 15 of 72
    j45p3rj45p3r Posts: 2member
    I ordered my 2.4GHz w/7200RPM drive on June 28. Was supposed to ship last Friday, now saying July 30.
  • Reply 16 of 72
    I ordered the 2.2 on June 15th and it shipped on June 22 and I got it on the 25th. Pretty good in my book given the high demand.
  • Reply 17 of 72
    ajhillajhill Posts: 81member
    Recent delays in MBP seemed to more related to the hard drive configuration rather than a problem with producing the led backlit panel.



    I was at the Apple Store last night and MacBook Pros were being purchased at an amazing rate. You would think they were giving away a car with each MacBook Pro purchased. I was very jealous.



    I love the way the media needs to have a reason to explain anything that could, maybe, possibly, kinda be a problem for Apple. Hey, strong demand for your premium notebook computer? We all should be so lucky to have demand problems like these.



    The Apple stores have been packed and MORE IMPORTANTLY they are moving merchandise!



    Go Apple!
  • Reply 18 of 72
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajhill View Post


    Recent delays in MBP seemed to more related to the hard drive configuration rather than a problem with producing the led backlit panel.



    I was at the Apple Store last night and MacBook Pros were being purchased at an amazing rate. You would think they were giving away a car with each MacBook Pro purchased. I was very jealous.



    I love the way the media needs to have a reason to explain anything that could, maybe, possibly, kinda be a problem for Apple. Hey, strong demand for your premium notebook computer? We all should be so lucky to have demand problems like these.



    The Apple stores have been packed and MORE IMPORTANTLY they are moving merchandise!



    Go Apple!





    I'm with ajhill! The media does nothing but bash Apple without reason!!11!



    Go Appple!!
  • Reply 19 of 72
    rogue68rogue68 Posts: 98member
    I don't care whether people call the 13" MBP an 'ultra portable' or not. I just want one.
  • Reply 20 of 72
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,728member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    The a large portion of weight within a laptop is the display. The size of the battery depends on the power requirements of the unit... one huge determining factor is the size of the display.



    The things that determine the power consumption of a display are resolution (number of pixels), and size (which determines the power required for the backlight). So, a 12.1" 16:10 display with 1280 x 800 resolution would require the same amount of power as the 13" one for the pixels, and about 13% less power for the backlight for the same brightness (as the 12.1" screen has about 13% less area). In other words, going to a 12.1" screen wouldn't save you that much.



    However, the current MacBook uses CCFL backlighting. The screen size can be maintained, and power consumption can simultaneously be reduced by using L.E.D. backlighting instead.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    At this point, the only difference between this device and the 13" MB is the presence of an optical bay, and a storage device.



    Nope. Two more significant differences:
    • CPU designed for ultra-mobile laptops

    • Aluminium casework

    The first of these is very significant (more so than the display). Intel's T5600 Merom, used in the MacBook, has a TDP of 34 watts. The ULV version, the U7600, has a TDP of 10 watts. This significant power saving, coupled to the reduced power consumption of the L.E.D. backlighting of the display, allows the use of a smaller, lighter battery.



    The casework for the MacBook has a healthy dollop of internal bracing, making the unit rather dense. The 13" MacBook is 0.663 ounces/cubic inch, whilst the 15.4" MacBook Pro is 0.638 ounces/cubic inch.



    This means that if the 13" MacBook used the same construction as a 15.4" MacBook Pro, it would weigh about 4.9 pounds. However, not only is the aluminium construction less dense, it would also allow for a smaller form factor, especially if there's no optical drive.
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