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Jason Snell for Macworld
February 5, 2020 7:30 AM PT
Gauging consumer demand for a product can be hard, even for a company as successful as Apple. Sometimes a product is a breakout hit, there are production slowdowns at the factory, or both, and the company just can’t make ‘em fast enough. But there are other times when it’s just a failure of imagination, a miscalculation in the appeal of one’s own product that leads a company to just not make enough products to fulfill the surprising demand.
It doesn’t happen often to Apple, but every time it does, it’s an interesting data point. A few years back, Apple underestimated the appeal of the small, low-cost iPhone SE—and didn’t make enough to fulfill demand. And during the 2019 holidays, Apple didn’t make enough of the two-year-old Apple Watch Series 3, of all things.
Both of these products suggest something a little broader and more interesting about Apple’s approach: First, that Tim Cook’s strategy of selling older products at discounted prices really does seem to work. And second, that inside Apple there’s still some resistance to the idea that old cheap products can still be big sellers.