Apple’s Tim Cook: Always question supply chain order rumors

Jan 23, 2013

Apple CEO Tim Cook has addressed the recent trend of divining sales performance of the company's iOS and OS X ranges from supply chain leaks, suggesting that "it's good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor." Asked about the chatter in recent weeks of iPad display order cuts while on the company's financial results call, Cook declined to comment on any rumors specifically, but said that the supply chain was far too complex to predict from just one ingredient.

"It's good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumour about those [order cut] plans" Cook argued. "And even if a particular data point was factual, it would be impossible to interpret what it means for our overall business. The supply chain is very complex … there's an inordinate long list of things which would make a single data point not telling for what's going on."

Talk of modified iPad component orders re-surfaced earlier this month, with claims that Sharp - among others - had cut its 9.7-inch panel production and switched to 7.9-inch panels thanks to increasing demand for the iPad mini. That led to suggestions that Apple's bigger, more expensive iPad had been cannibalized by the new, smaller model.

Cook, though, appears reluctant to accept such A-to-B conclusions. Although, he said during the call, Apple couldn't make enough iPad mini to meet demand, it was too simplistic to assume that would necessarily require a cut in full-sized iPad production. "We ended the quarter with significant [order] backlog" CFO Peter Oppenheimer added, saying that Apple expected to be able to meet demand in the next quarter.

Apple sold 22.9m iPads in the last quarter, though has not broken down what proportion was iPads and what was iPad mini.

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