Thailand Floods Means Apple Doesn’t Have Enough Hard Drives To Fulfill Some Mac Orders For 5-7 Weeks

Thailand Floods Means Apple Doesn’t Have Enough Hard Drives To Fulfill Some Mac Orders For 5-7 Weeks

Apple’s a master of the supply chain, keeping just a couple days’ worth of inventory at stock any time under the mantra that any product in a warehouse is just costing the company money. The benefit of all of this is Apple is able to manage its supply chain with laser precision, deliver new products quickly and on-time without worrying about selling out existing inventory and save millions while doing so. But when something unexpected happens, Apple can find it doesn’t have enough inventory in stock to fulfill demand.

Apple’s just been hit by the rare downside to the way it handles its supply chain. The hard drive shortages caused by massive flooding in Thailand over the past few months have finally caught up with Apple, delaying built-to-order iMacs with two terabyte hard drives.

Luckily, hard drives smaller than two terabytes are fine. Also, Apple’s hardly alone in having a hard time securing the drives it needs. In fact, the Thailand floods have had one positive upside for computer users around the world, in that it has spurred computer manufacturers to adopt MacBook Air style SSDs, which are faster and less prone to damage than spinning drives. That’s a really good thing, because the more manufacturers are spending on SSDs, the quicker and faster SSD technology and storage capacity will catch up with traditional HDDs, all the while prices fall.

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  • CharliK

    “Luckily, hard drives smaller than two terabytes are fine. ”

    So given that the base models on pretty much all computers are under 2 TB, Apple doesn’t really have an issue at all. 

    So rather than the ‘sky is falling’ tone of the article which implies a major issue with their supply chain (thanks to all the talk about how they don’t back stock etc), maybe you should clarify that this is an issue only for customized computers that have larger standard hard drives added which are always built at the time of order. 

  • Michael Jennings

    This is clearly not an Apple specific problem. Buy a new PC with a 2TB drive from any other manufacturer, and you will hit the same problem.

    And if you do want a 2Tb hard drive, there is not going to be much problem buying a machine now with a smaller drive and adding one later when availability improves. It’s easy on a Mac Pro, and doable on an iMac.

  • Gereon

    That’s sad! Wait, maybe they could grab some of the cash the’re sitting on and send it over, so people could work the problem. They should just pick up the phone and ask. Maybe they want to change some lifes and make them better, cause it’s kind of messed up over there right now, in a lot of ways. Once they learn that, they’ll never be the same again.

  • Goldie20

    “In fact, the Thailand floods
    have had one positive upside for computer users around the world, in
    that it has spurred computer manufacturers to adopt MacBook Air style
    SSDs”

    Would be nice if it were true, but it’s not. Everything point to OEMs just holding out until production of mech drives stabilizes in the spring of 2012.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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