5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

Summary: You'd think that Apple would have mastered the whole hot-product distribution channel thing, but last Friday's iPad 2 launch is turning out to be one of its biggest fiascos in recent memory.

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TOPICS: iPad, Apple, Mobility
140

You'd think that Apple would have mastered the whole hot-product distribution channel thing, but last Friday's iPad 2 launch is turning out to be one of its biggest fiascos since the great AT&T Activation fiasco of 2008.

Although there are more, here are five things that Apple botched with the iPad 2 launch:

1. No pre-orders. Several rumors floated around as to why Apple didn't allow pre-orders for the iPad 2 -- like it did for the iPad 1: 1) launch inventory was less than expected, 2) a component was to blame, 3) Apple wanted to save inventory for its retail stores. Either way, bad move. Apple should allow a certain amount of pre-orders, tell everyone what the number is and assign tickets in a lottery system. What about requiring pre-orders from its app? Heck, make a game out of it!

2. No information. Be transparent. Apple should tell customers (in general terms) how many units are available and how they're being allocated. Like the cool iPhone availability tracker Apple added to its Web site in '08 and '09:

3. The lines. Apple knows that people are going to line up outside its retail stores (sometimes overnight) to buy its latest gear. Figure out a system (wristbands?) that's fair and cut off the line. It's pretty simple actually, if you have 200 units at a given store, and people are allowed to by two units each (arguably a bad idea), an employee should have a heart-to-heart talk with person #101 in line -- and everyone behind them. Why make people wait outside unnecessarily? Maybe an iOS app to track inventory in real-time? Ya think?

4. Bad Buyers. Apple has to weed out shill buyers paid by the hour by grey marketers to buy iPads. There's a growing problem of scalpers gaming the system by paying broke immigrants to buy iPad 2's to be shipped overseas. I haven't seen mine yet, but the iPad 2 is already on sale in China, Dubai and Hong Kong -- and eBay, natch.  Should Apple go back to requiring a credit card when inventory is constrained? One per billing address? I'm sure what the answer is here... (chime in in the TalkBack).

5. Over promise, Under-deliver? I dutifully ordered my iPad 2 (black/64/AT&T/no engraving) on Apple's Web site at 12:59am ET -- one minute before they were officially due to go on sale and was told that it "Ships: 3-5 business days." It's Thursday and if you count Friday as a business day today is the fifth day and it still hasn't shipped. Apple usually under-promises and over-delivers and this could be a black mark on its otherwise stellar reputation.

We've seen much better from Apple and all it takes is a little transparency and communication to maintain a good relationship with its loyal customer base. What probably irks me most is that a "technology company" like Apple doesn't allow its customers to track its orders from Shenzhen to their door. Why isn't there an app for that?

Topics: iPad, Apple, Mobility

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140 comments
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  • japan

    The horrific events in Japan will only make matters worse.
    darthstupid
    • Message has been deleted.

      lariosshow
    • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

      @darthstupid

      Why in world would Apple want to eliminate the long lines? That's free advertising for them. Local news channels report on the lines, interview people in line etc...

      No pre-order because Apple knew supply would be limited, and why would you expect them to announce it or announce expected supply? Yes, if they knew they were going to have plenty of iPads on launch day, but if not don't say anything that would give competitors any leverage.

      With all that's going on in Japan, it's absolutely ridiculous people are whining about having to wait for an iPad 2...
      Masari.Jones
      • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

        I pre-ordered mine and picked it up on Saturday.
        john_gillespie@...
      • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

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        Karston1234
      • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

        The competition is very hard that's why every company do what they think is best to keep them in the front line of bussiness and their share holders. http://www.handyortungkostenlos.eu/Kostenlos-Handy-orten | http://www.handyortungkostenlos.eu/Handyortung-gratis
        Ibiossa
    • help japan

      I think Apple should donate some cash to japan.:)
      dpt308
      • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

        @dpt308 They pay their taxes! Let the government donate in form of aid and expertise. What do you think taxes are used for?
        global.philosopher
      • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

        @global.philosopher I think 50% is used to line the governments pocket and the other 50% is used to develop the nation (maybe help out other nations aswell :) )
        MrElectrifyer
      • Re:Apple should donate some cash to japan...

        @dpt308 because Japan is a poor third world country, and the US has this huge cash surplus!

        On the other hand, if the US paid off it's debt to Japan, Japan would have more cash than we could ever donate. THAT would be worth all the hardship it would cause working class Americans.
        Steve Webb
      • ... Apple should donate some cash to Japan...

        @dpt308 They did more than that.
        http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2381982,00.asp

        an Apple store in Tokyo kept its doors open to hundreds of nearby victims, and instructed stranded employees and their families to stay overnight at the five-story flagship store...

        Tech Giants rally to help ... donating funds and using the power of tech to help those in need.

        http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2381879,00.asp

        Social Media connects victims...
        http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2011/March/Social-Media-Connects-Japan-Quake-Victims/
        DrTimRajah
    • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

      @darthstupid

      Maybe. However as there are a lot of people loving apple they should at least be giving proper and transparent info to their consumers.


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  • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

    @hoaxoner
    Well said. But look at what Apple did with the iPhone tracker. At a minimum, why couldn't they do that again? There's got to be a better way than what Apple did on Friday.

    - Jason
    Jason D. O'Grady
    • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

      @Jason D. O'Grady
      Putting a PR hat on, having hundreds or thousands of people in line for your next product makes for great video. I hate to say it, but if people stopped doing it then Apple might rethink their strategy. Right now Apple is more concerned about how many people are in line than how those people feel about it during their vigil. In the end when they have their iFruit x.x they forgive Apple all its transgressions.

      The outrage against any other company would most likely be higher, but everyone has to have the latest Apple product, even if it only marginally better than the last version.
      xds9mm
  • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

    @hoaxoner

    Oy vey iz mir! Well, no one's perfect.
    kenosha77a
    • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

      @kenosha7777
      This one's funny!
      Eleutherios
    • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

      MicroSoft will never have this problem. They create products like the Zune and the Kin because they want to avoid lines of consumers.
      john_gillespie@...
    • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

      I Will Be Coming Back Soon, Thanks for posting Some Great ideas
      <a href="http://www.papermoz.com/research-papers/">Research Paper</a>
      <a href="http://www.papermoz.com/term-papers/">Term Paper</a>
      <a href="http://www.papermoz.com/essays/">Essay</a>
      <a href="http://www.papermoz.com/book-reports/">book report</a>
      <a href="http://www.papermoz.co.uk/dissertations/">Dissertation</a>
      Karston1234
  • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

    @hoaxoner
    <i>You're asking for transparency with Apple? Don't you write an Apple blog? That's like asking the Pope to be Jewish.</i>

    While I am not up on the popular mythology, I would like to add to you comment.

    You're asking for transparency with Apple? Don't you write an Apple blog? That's like asking Microsoft to give accurate numbers on anything.
    Rick_K
    • RE: 5 ways Apple botched the iPad 2 launch

      @Rick_K

      Which is like asking Apple to actually invent something new instead of looting other people's inventiveness.
      hiraghm@...