I’ve been reading alot of articles in the last 12 hours about how strange it is that the new iPad hasn’t appeared to sell out on launch day like the previous two models have. If the lines I saw yesterday were any indication, I don’t think it says anything at all about demand for the new device. I suspect, and it’s purely my conjecture without any actual supporting evidence, that it has less to do with demand and more to do with who’s at the helm of Apple, Inc.
Steve Jobs, hallowed be his name, was a master showman. He excelled at sales and building drama surrounding every new product. Constrained supply at launch was every bit as much a marketing tool as print and television ads. Tim Cook, by contrast, is a master logistician. His specialty is filling the supply chain so that the products get to the right place, in the right quantities, at the right time. He’s spent his career doing his best to avoid stock outs, as they tend to show a point of failure in the supply chain. I’m not saying that one approach is better or worse, because either way Apple, Inc is walking away with a giant bag of cash.
As a half-assed one time logistician myself, I can certainly understand and appreciate Cook’s approach. In the long run, I suspect having the product on shelves and available to customers on demand is a superior approach to sales than cranking up the hype machine to full tilt. You’re selling an iPad, a device that almost sells itself. You might have needed the hype for v1, but now that you’re miles ahead of the competition and gaining ground, it’s all about meeting demand.
Forgive me my blasphemy, Saint Steve.