This feature (the third in the "Evolution of a Computer" series) describes Apple's efforts to produce and market the Macintosh.
While a little attention is given to marketing (a subject dealt with in greater detail in another Gartner Group piece, "Targeting the Audience"), the real focus of this feature is the factory Apple built for producing the Macintosh. The automated factory, which had the capacity to produce one Macintosh every 27 seconds, was used by Apple marketing (as Regis McKenna explains in Relationship Marketing) to symbolize American innovation in high-tech manufacturing.
(Lisa computers in the factory)
Voice-over: A little over a year ago, Apple introduced its Lisa computer, and it caused quite a sensation. Now, the company belives the impact could have been greater had the computer and a strong software base been available when it was announced.
(Apple CEO John Scully)
John Scully: I think companies can learn more from their mistakes than their successes; and with Macintosh, we have put together an extremely well-coordinated, very powerful consumer markeing program to introduce this product.
Voice-over: That meant having Macintosh ready at dealerships across the nation on the day of announcement. So advanced production was critical. Apple prepared for that by creating what it believes is the most automated personal computer factory in the industry.
(Macintosh factory line)
The factory design was as crucial as the design of the computer. Embracing a concept called just-in-time-manufacturing, parts and materials arrive just in time for production, demanding high-quality assembly.
Peter Barron: Material comes into the factory, it's handled once, and it's assembled into a Macintosh. That allows us to ensure that the material is never damaged, it allows us to keep a very close count of the material while it's inside the factory.
(Macintosh under construction)
Voice-over: This process is a key factor in production, as a Macintosh is made every 27 seconds. But even at that speed, Apple believes the supply won't keep up with the demand.
One big reason is that Macintosh has a solid software base, which is critical to the success of any computer. Nearly 100 top software companies were enlisted to write for Macintosh; by the end of this year, there should be about 500 programs on the market.
Industry analyst: It's very important when a new computer gets announced that they have software for it. It's very important when people go into the store and want to buy a computer, one of the questions they should ask is, "What software is available for my machine." It's the jugular vein of the computer. You've got to have software on it at the time it announces.
(Apple delivery truck)
Voice-over: So now, with those key ingredients-- production and software-- solidly in place, Apple is launching its newest computer.
John Scully: We're at that point where we can say, "Macintosh is ready, it's coming to market." And it's not only going to change our lives at Apple, now it has the chance of changing other people's lives around the world. That's exciting. And we think that's important.