Of Supply, Demand, and iPhones

Seems that Apple ran out of iPhones about an hour after online pre-ordering (which is exactly the same thing as ordering, by the way) began.

Immediately, the usual tweets and posts of outrage began, centering on two themes:

  • Apple is incompetent at forecasting demand
  • Apple intentionally constrains initial supply for publicity purposes

Which is true? Neither: Apple makes as many iPhones as it can, as fast as it can. You have to remember that each new model requires many new manufacturing methods, every one of which has to be extensively tested before each can be implemented and ramped up to full production capability—what’s more, this manufacturing QA and implementation has to be accomplished in the very short time between the day the device design is finalized and the day the device ships. And, in whatever time is left in that short period, Apple has to manufacture millions of devices on the brand-new production line. Meanwhile, demand for each successive design far outpaces the initial demand Apple has faced for the previous device.

So: new production methods implemented at scales larger than anything Apple—or anyone else—has done previously. I’m honestly surprised Apple can have as many millions of devices on hand as it does on roll-out day, regardless of the demand.

Getting the Book Invented Properly

In 1992, Douglas Adams’ Complete Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was one of the original three Voyager Expanded Books published. A big Mac fan, and a Voyager fan as well, Adams wrote and recorded a short promotional audio for the floppy-disk-based ebook series. Here, in all of its crunchy 8-bit-audio glory, is that recording, Getting the Book Invented Properly.

Bonus: the Literary Platform site recently held a competition for animations to accompany the recording. The entries are here.

In which I commit another reckless act of authorship

I assumed this would be a 75-page ebook, but it turned out to be double that. On the other hand, it was both fun and rewarding to write, and I think it can be very helpful to aspiring ebook authors and publishers: Take Control of iBooks Author, available for $15 from Take Control Books.

Plus, there’s a free Multi-Touch excerpt for the iPad, Take Control of Getting Ready for iBooks Author, that you can download!

The cover of Take Control of iBooks Author

5 reasons to post top-5 lists

5. The numeral 5 in a blog post title is a secret signal to Google’s SEO filters that the post is a Super-premium-level link and should be moved up in the page rankings.

4. No need to worry about how to organize the post’s contents.

3. 5 is not the same as 10, so David Letterman won’t be able to sue you for stealing his bit.

2. 5 is a perfect blogging number: you can use one hand to count, and still be able to type with the other.

1. The numeral 5 looks very much like the letter S: because the most powerful link-bait word also begins with S, by a process of unconscious transference many readers will click the link hoping to get lucky.