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Newsletter Issue #888: Apple and Meeting Product Deadlines

Once upon a time, I placed an order for a brand new car intended to showcase an innovative engine technology that promised to revolutionize the industry. It was the early 1970s, and I was anxious to acquire a Mazda RX-2, with the Wankel rotary engine. It was due to arrive in the northeast U.S. as a 1972 model. A dealer in the Philadelphia area advertised that it was coming real soon now. It did, months later than they originally promised; at least they didn’t request a deposit to hold one.

Days after the first stocks appeared on the dealer’s lot, I purchased a yellow 1972 RX-2. As some of you might recall, for a vehicle with a state-of-the-art engine, it was really nondescript, not externally dissimilar from compact cars from Toyota and other makers of the time. But I was the first on the block with this “exotic” machine. It wasn’t the first time that I confronted missed deadlines when I wanted to buy something new.

Segue to the 1990s, when I purchased a brand new PowerBook every year or two. In every single case. the one I wanted wouldn’t arrive until weeks after I placed an order. Apple wasn’t so good about meeting product deadlines then, and maybe things haven’t changed all that much.

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