There are clearly more questions than answers right now about what has caused Apple’s iPhone 4 woes -in particular, the phone’s antenna design and the company’s struggle with supply and demand. Apple recently released the fourth generation iPhone with a design flaw in the antenna that substantially degrades the reception when held in the palm of your hand. This, in turn, has created the problems the company has had with meeting the needs of the consumer, as well as with the future launch of the white version of the iPhone 4. Rumor mill says the white phone’s manufacturing delays are a direct result of Apple’s covert attempt to correct the antenna design issue prior to its release. The iPhone 4 is currently experiencing longer wait times, as new customers are waiting an average of three weeks for delivery of their new device. This has been an ongoing issue since the first day of preorders, when the company sold 600,000 phones and had to suspend sales. Apple has continued to struggle to keep pace with the consumer’s high demand of this product, however, there is no official word from the company about the supply shortages and its efforts at narrowing them. In this chapter, the process analysis will be examined as it relates to these two issues. INNOVATION AT WORK
To better understand the iPhone 4’s recent struggles, it is important to pinpoint the theories behind the company’s innovation. Apple recently increased their research and development expenditures and remains confident in their belief that R&D is critical to future advancements and growth. This effort directly relates to the timely development of new and enhanced products that are central to the company’s core business strategy. According to Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Apple, the company does not perform market research or spend time on focus groups. Rather, Apple’s vision and product designs are based on Jobs’ and his team’s perceptions of what they think will have a competitive edge in the marketplace. The company’s ability to compete successfully depends heavily on its timely introduction of innovative new products and technologies. Apple believes it is unique since they design and develop nearly the entire solution for its mobile communication devices. The brains behind these concepts consist of teams of less than twenty world-class designers. The company assumes the risk that new products may have quality or other defects in the early stages of introduction. Unfortunately, the iPhone 4 has had such issues and its radical antenna design has proven to be problematic and a key area of concern for consumers. With every new product launch, countless hours have transpired to ensure the highest standards are met. Apple utilizes six unique business practices to theorize product ideas and development, the first being pixel-perfect mockups in which designers create an exact image of the proposed product, down to the very last pixel. Although these require an enormous amount of time, doing this mockup removes all ambiguity of how the final product will look. Apple designers then come up with ten different mock ups of any new feature narrow that down to three, then to one, in order to ultimately settle on one design to manufacture. This is commonly known as the “10 to 3 to 1” approach. A series of design, brainstorm, production and pony meetings are commonplace where particular problems are addressed and existing designs are enhanced. Because Apple only focuses on a select group of products at a time, their teams are able to deliver a high level of attention to excellence. One might imagine that after enduring such an extensive design process, every Apple product would have been meticulously scrutinized and free of defects. Apple’s dominance has been further strengthened by their CEO, Steve Jobs, and his ability to set a vision of innovation for the organization. Jobs is consistently...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document