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During the past six years with CEO Tim Cook, the average gap between Apple announcing and shipping a product has reportedly been 23 days — more than double the 11 days under the previous six years of Steve Jobs.
Some examples of delays include the Apple Watch — which was promised for early 2015, but shipped in late April — and AirPods, which were intended to arrive in October 2016 but were delayed at the last minute, ultimately shipping on Dec. 20, the Wall Street Journal noted. The company was also late in delivering the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro.
Most recently the company missed a December target for the HomePod, which should now ship in the next few months. The delay may have further entrenched Apple's rivals in the smartspeaker space, Amazon and Google.
The discrepancy between Cook and Jobs is said to be at least partly attributable to preferences on when to make an announcement. Jobs normally preferred waiting until a product was ready to ship, according to former Apple workers, the exceptions being more radical products like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.
Other factors are said to include the growing complexity of Apple's products, and more micromanagement of components. Whereas early iPhones used a complete camera from a single supplier, modern ones mix-and-match parts for an ideal technical combination and maximizing profits.
Cook has shipped over 70 products under his tenure. Of these, five had gaps of three months or more, while nine arrived within one to three months. Jobs is said to have delivered roughly the same number of products, but only one had to wait over three months, and only seven came within the one- to three-month window.