As we have discussed for weeks now, Apple recently admitted to cutting their capacity after reducing performance in older phones. Although some users argue that the issue was created by Apple in order to force its users to purchase new phones, Apple argues that it “curtailed computing power of some models to prevent unexpected shutdowns”. The complications arise for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus users who were all encouraged to call Apple Support to reserve a battery replacement before visiting a nearby Apple Store. The replacement process seemed easy and quick from its simple instructions, but customers quickly discovered the constraints to repair as they suffered through the bottleneck problem.
When a customer comes across an issue with their Apple product, they are prompted to either call Apple Support, email in a request, or schedule an appointment at the Apple Store itself. Apple even has a live chat option available for immediate customer support at certain hours of the day. Personally, when I face an issue with my Apple products I can easily get into contact with support in some form; whether it be via email with a response in just a few hours or via phone with a 2-3-minute wait. However, customers in need of a battery replacement are waiting 7+ minutes on the phone just to get in contact with an Apple specialist. One customer exclaimed that he waited 10 minutes while listening to the music repeat until the phone call dropped before reaching Apple’s Genius Bar. If the phone call is successful, the customer then is able to schedule an in-store appointment, which may take days to weeks to schedule in itself. Users were once told that after scheduling the appointment, they would receive the battery upon arrival. Then depending on what type of phone they have determines the immediacy in which they would receive their battery. iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus users are not receiving batteries for weeks up to months. In January, Apple announced to the general public that batteries would not be available until April; leaving many people with a broken phone and even prompting some to transfer to Samsung phones. I have detailed the process in the visual diagram below, and I have estimated the times for each step. Where is the bottleneck? What is the throughput time?
Apple attributes its issues to the fact that they have stopped manufacturing the iPhone 6 series (6 Plus and 6s Plus), so therefore the battery supply is limited. It is important to note Apple’s time strategy here when it comes to production. Apple focuses on one to two generations at once. Once a new generation of a product is created it quickly ends operations with the past generation to reduce costs and focus productivity on the newer processes.
It is evident that Apple did not consider its bottleneck flows, as they are nowhere near equal to the market demand and are facing large backlash from its customers. Life-long users are criticizing the company for its mistakes, lies, and lack of prompt support. In an attempt to appease its customers, Apple offered a price cut in “out-of-warranty” battery replacements from $29 to $79, but what impact does the price have on anything if customers cannot receive the battery for months?