Why 2012 is already like 2005
The ultrabook is dead! Long live the MacBook Air! Back in 2005, Apple locked down the portable media player (a.k.a. iPod) market with a deft combination of drool worthy products and savvy supply chain manipulation (i.e. forward contracts for Flash memory). A similar chain of events occurred in 2011 with the iPad, which has achieved tablet market dominance. Now, by all appearances, Apple is performing the same magic in the ultrabook space.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, pretty much every Windows notebook PC maker was showing off an ultrabook of some kind or another. Fast forward roughly six months and, ask yourself, where are the products?
According to a Taiwan media report, Asian PC manufacturers are having difficulty sourcing the critical building blocks, Aluminum chassis and slim-panel LCDs, of any ultrabook. However, there’s no mystery as to why — Apple is buying nearly all of the available supplies to feed production of its popular MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and hot-selling Retina MacBook Pro product lines.
“In early June, supply of slim panels was greatly affected by strong demand from downstream brand vendors,” writes DigiTimes. “Meanwhile, metal chassis continues to suffer from shortage as Apple currently has booked up most of the capacity from makers.”
With the original, hard drive-based iPod, Apple kept the competition at bay by locking down micro drive supply and applied the coup de grace with the Flash-based iPod nano in 2005. A similar chain events unfolded in 2011 in the tablet space vis-a-vis IPS LCD panels and high-capacity batteries.
Now, here in 2012, the PC makers are scrambling to match another world-beating innovation — the ultrabook (a.k.a. unibody MacBook Air, Pro, Retina MBP) — from Apple and one of their biggest problems is getting supplies of critical components because Cupertino has a hammerlock on the market…
What’s your take?