What is causing Apple delivery delays?

Happened to me as well. I ordered after the initial rush and both our 13s sat somewhere in China in limbo between “cleared government agency” and “put on a plane” for 6 days. Even Apple support couldn’t tell me why it was stuck.

That was Tim Cook’s specialty, after all :slight_smile:

Same. Apple told me to call UPS. UPS just said to “leep an eye on it…it should change status soon”. As it so happened, it did get loaded on a plane the next business day, but I’m pretty sure that was a coincidence.

This thread is killing me. A company ships a few million devices from halfway around the world, that takes awhile. It took awhile then, and it does now.

Having worked in logistics, this is not an easy, quick process, especially not at that level.


In the global economy, logistics and supply chain are inextricably tied. The movement of goods - no matter whether they’re finished products or raw materials - is effectively constrained by available resources.

Guessing that UPS has a metric crap-ton of stuff to move from China, and they’re making prioritizing decisions.

This kind of feels like the “dining with philosophers” problem. The goal is obviously to get you all of your stuff. It may be a governing assumption that you want your whole order, so until it’s available they’ll prioritize other packages where they can fulfill the whole order at once.

Reminds me of Amazon’s “super saver shipping” - at least back in the day. Two-day delivery would have it delivered in a couple of days, whereas “super saver” might be a week and a half out. That doesn’t mean that Amazon ships it when you order it and then it takes a slow shipping carrier - the shipping carrier is frequently the same. It means that Amazon has it in their warehouse now, but they’ll ship it “when we get to it” - with a fixed deadline of when they’re going to “get to it”.

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I suppose part of my “gripe” about this is the fact that they are, in fact, shipping (and manufacturing) from “half way around the world”!

This is an American company with a huge part of their customer base in America. As expensive as these devices are there is no reason why Apple shouldn’t manufacture in America.

Even if they want to maintain Chinese operations for international markets, having at least the American portion of manufacturing in America would benefit both the American economy and the U.S. customers.

Of course, the loser in all of this would be Apple…and God knows that cutting into their margins would be unthinkable! But opening up this “can of worms” is probably not really appropriate in this forum!

Money. It all comes down to money. Apple has a very specific margin they want to make on their devices and manufacturing in China & shipping from there enables them to hit that margin more comfortably than using US-based labor. They will not give up that margin, it would make them look terrible in the subsequent quarterly earnings calls.

Plus, most of the other parts are already sourced from that region which helps manage supply timelines, transportation costs, etc.

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Lower labor costs are not China’s only advantage. The supply chains in manufacturing and shipping hubs like Shenzen are highly organized and tightly integrated with the factories themselves. Often those factories make the component parts for the finished-goods manufacturers nearby. It’s taken decades for China to develop that kind of manufacturing infrastructure, and it can’t be replicated overnight in the US.

In any event, labor costs aren’t so low in China anymore—that’s why certain kinds of manufacturing (clothing, e.g.) are moving to China’s lower-cost neighbors.

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I understand all of that. This is the global economy that company executives wanted to have. They all saw an opportunity to cut labor costs and have steadily outsourced manufacturing until we find ourselves where we are today.

We have given away control of our manufacturing facilities in order to chase higher profits. Now, to bring those facilities back would, by comparison, look very bad to Wall Street.

Of course you would have to wait a few quarters until you could compare “apples to apples”! Comparing U.S. labor costs to Chinese labor costs would obviously be absurd…not to mention the additional cost of moving expense.

However, as you said, the biggest issue here is that Apple can’t make the same profit margin here as they can in China without increasing prices…obviously not popular with their customers.

The ‘unthinkable” comment I sarcastically made previously meant that it is unthinkable that Apple would consider reducing their margin goals on U.S. sales in order to otherwise help boost the economic well-being of the nation they are based in.

I realize their are those who think this notion is utterly ridiculous…and from a purely financial perspective I suppose it is. However for a $2 T dollar company such as Apple that is always talking about taking the “social/moral high road”, there is something they can do to strengthen their nation rather than simply continue increasing their own value!

Having to wait a few days longer for your new $1,000 phone! What have we done to this country?! :stuck_out_tongue:


That is also true…however I will again say that Apple is not the ONLY company that chose to move their operations to China.

There is a reason the supply chain is there…a lot of companies moved there for cheaper labor!

Waiting for a phone or computer is not the biggest issue here.

True, it was the subject of my initial post, however this thread now encompasses some larger issues. By comparison, waiting for the latest gadget is no longer even meaninful.

I was teasing you.

It’s pointless to get into a big political discussion here. All I would say is what everyone has already said. It’s not as easy as just saying we will manufacture in the US. There are a lot of factors that mean it is not a realistic option. Apple is a global company not limited to the US.

And “what we have done to this country” is outsourced our good paying manufacturing sector jobs to a global enemy nation. We have left America in a state where we have people in so-called “gig economy” jobs trying to survive while minimum wage earners are often now the primary wage earner in a family. Is it any wonder they are asking for a 100% increase in pay?

As I said, these issues are MUCH bigger than waiting for a gadget. These decisions have reshaped many American’s lives…frequently NOT for the better!

Obviously the market dictates what can be charged for a product, but customers have far less to do with this equation than owners / shareholders. If Tim suggested taking the financial hit that moving all iPhone production to the USA while holding prices the same would entail, there’s a good chance they’d be hunting for a new CEO.

Also noting that in the current market, we have too many jobs and too few people willing to go to work. So if Apple had brought phone assembly stateside a few years back, you likely wouldn’t be looking at a few days of UPS delay - you’d probably be looking at weeks or months worth of backlog.

I would anticipate that with the current political undesirability of continuing to do business with China, Apple will be looking at moving production - but not to the US. Probably to another country somewhere in Asia.

Understood! We are in agreement on this point. However perhaps you have a little better insight as to some of the real issues that motivate me being “frustrated” waiting for a new gadget from China!

Most of it has NOTHING to do with the actual gadget itself!

Why we have so few workers available in a nation of 330 M people is an entirely different discussion. However, suffice it to say that many people left the workforce because they lost their good jobs when companies laid them off to outsource.

We have some much different living situations today than we had then as often multiple generations live together…not just parents and children.

But this again will take us into politics…an area I am trying to avoid since it is so polarizing. So I think I need to say “so long” for now before this becomes something I didn’t mean for it to.

So long! When I return, I will be back to talking about our Apple gadgets!

Some say the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”


I think they already have some operations in India. Perhaps they may increase their presence there??? Who knows…time will tell.

I don’t think Apple’s relations with the Chinese government has always been quite as warm as they may have preferred either.

nor the Marxists, but let’s stay focused.