Of the three major new products since Mr. Cook became chief executive in 2011, both AirPods earbuds in 2016 and last year’s HomePod speaker missed Apple’s publicly projected shipping dates. The Apple Watch, promised for early 2015, arrived late that April with lengthy wait times for delivery. Apple also was delayed in supplying the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, two critical accessories for its iPad Pro.
These delays have resulted in a much longer wait time between Apple's announcing a product and shipping it. Over the past six years the average wait time has been 23 days, that's over double the 11 day average when Steve Jobs was CEO.
Delays are harmful to the company in several ways. They give rivals time to react, disappoint customers, and cost sales. Last year Apple nearly missing the entire Christmas shopping season with the launch of its wireless AirPods and this year it failed to launch the new HomePod in time for the holidays, after announcing it in June.
Matt Sargent, an executive at research based consultancy Magid, believes that the HomePod delay was 'a huge opening' for Amazon and Google to increase sales to loyal iPhone and iPad customers. Apple seems "to be losing step, and that’s a big strategic concern with how they’re positioning the brand," he said.
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