Apple: Marketing good, supply chain bad

It’s been a good day for many Apple fans, and a bad day for many other Apple fans.

I’ve been watching today’s launch of the iPhone 3G, and also covering it in my Mac-specific blog hosted on TechWeb’s bMighty. For my detailed observations, based on visits to two nearby AT&T stores, I’ll refer you to today’s three posts:

1. Expect a Long Wait in Line for Your iPhone 3G

2. It Looks Like Apple Wasn’t Quite Ready

3. Your iPhone 3G Wait Might Be Days

My overall conclusion is that Apple hit a home run with the handset technology and with its marketing, but screwed up on execution of the launch.

The iPhone 3G has the features, sex appeal and pricing that consumers want, and the bar has definitely been raised for competing handset makers. The company’s secretiveness and promotional plan delivered the goods: customers were queued up for hours to buy their iPhones.

But as happens so often, Apple’s supply chain and provisioning plans didn’t get the job done.

When stores run out of handsets at 10:30am, you have unhappy customers. Being told, “come back tomorrow, and wait in line for another hour, and maybe we’ll have a phone for you, but maybe not,” isn’t taking good care of your customers. And when customers report that they can’t get their phones provisioned, and software upgrades don’t work, that’s bad too.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick