back to article Apple's online store goes offline

If you had any doubt that Apple would be announcing new hardware on Monday, doubt no more. Here's what Apple's online store is displaying in the hours before the 10am Pacific Time keynote presentation at its 2012 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC): Apple's online store splash page on June 11, 2012 Backstage web admins …


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  1. Chris 3

    Masterful PR

    Every other company manages to update Web sites with new products without bringing the whole site down for several hours. I'm sure Apple does it purposely to raise a kerfuffle. You have to admire their chutzpah.

    1. Zbig
      Thumb Down

      Re: Masterful PR

      Well... no, I don't.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Masterful PR NO WAY

      It was Gladys the cleaning lady, she pulled the wrong plug while using the Hoover

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Masterful PR

      They do it for a good reason. It stops people buying the previous generation and then whining about how they missed buying the new one by hours.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What company needs to take a site down to make changes?

    I was told today by someone connected that the iPhone 5 is being launched in October, so it's not entirely without reason that it would be shown off at this conference.

    1. An0n C0w4rd

      Re: Eh?

      "What company needs to take a site down to make changes?"

      My bank quite regularly has multi-hour outages, typically in the middle of the night, where they do maintenance on the systems.

      Does still rely on WebObjects? Anyone ever worked with it? I'm curious if that deprecated technology has something to do with Apple's inability to transparently roll out updates.

      1. cortezcortez

        Re: Eh?

        Adding new product pages and doing site maintenance are two different things. What other online vendors have to go offline to add new products?

        It's designed as part of the pathetic cult ritual.

    2. Mike Judge

      Answer: Hype building.

      By taking it down, morons think "wow, it's gonna be awesome, so awesome they had to take the site down to come with it"...

      Blah fucking blah....

  3. ElReg!comments!Pierre


    Why would a complete revamp of the site need a several-hours downtime? Surely you develop the new website offline and then just flip the switch between the old and new version? A few minutes of downtime should be the max.

    These downtimes seem like attention-grabbing strategies. Or are Apple's webmasters really coding the site live?

  4. The Mighty Spang

    obviously apple is so secretive they don't even tell the webmasters what products they are announcing in advance, they have to cobble the information live from the presentation.

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  7. Tom 35

    I don't see anthing new

    Maybe they just broke it. Maybe management was getting a tour of the new data centre and one said "what is this button for..."

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  9. cocknee

    Oi, stop it!!!!!

    All the speculating is already giving the fruity litigating gits enough airtime - at least El Reg has deigned not to have a live feed on their website like the rest of the fawning media - even the bloody Torygraph!

    Angry of Buckinghamshire


  10. jef_

    Downtime... for the buzz. Seems to be working too. No 'retina' display on air though :(

  11. K Brown

    Or Maybe.....

    They don't want people buying a mac book then 10 mins later complain as a new on has been released

    1. Gary Riches

      Re: Or Maybe.....

      Yeah, when Apple anniunce things like his they're normally available within a few hours, so this way it stops some of the complaints I would imagine.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Re: Or Maybe.....

      Doesn't make sense. These things cost and last enough that there is no difference between 10 minutes and 2 days. If you bought the old model 2 days before the new one became available you'll be as pissed as if you bought it 10 minutes before. People who care are wary enough to delay their purchase even a few month in advance, and people who don't care, well, don't care.

      The real way to mollify people who care enough to complain but not enough to check the release dates is to provide an upgrade mechanism. Which Apple and several other companies have been known to do.

      1. Lance 3

        Re: Or Maybe.....

        Sure it does. Apple quits making the old models; even the ones with Build to Order (BTO) options. So if someone went to buy a machine with more RAM, bigger HDD and maybe a faster processor, how would they fulfill the request when Chinese factories are not producing the soon to be previous model? Sure Apple could manually have someone go through the order and try to make a new machine with the same specs but the price would be different. The new machine might already have the RAM and HDD that the customer wanted as standard now. Before you say that if it is less, why does it matter? I have worked for companies that had a set dollar amount before it became a capital item and there were two budgets; one was for capital. A lower price could put it under the capital mark and thus couldn't be bought. Lastly, Apple also has a return policy:

        "If you want to return an item, you can ship the item back to Apple, or bring it to any U.S. Apple Store for a full refund. For eligible Mac, iPad, iPod, and third-party products, you have up to 14 calendar days from the time you receive your item(s) to initiate a return."

        Most machines bought from the online store get shipped from China anyway, so when you order, they either grab one from the warehouse or have it start down the line.

        So someone could order a machine during the announcement and receive it and before the 14-days is up return it to get the latest machine. It is just easier to close the site down and then reopen it after the announcement.

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Or Maybe.....

          Dear Lance,

          you are talking total and utter rubbish. I do feel dumber for reading your post.

          If you really assume that older models are fully available until 1 hr before the Big Annoucement but completely unavailable 1 millisecond after, and that is the reason for the site blackout, then you need serious councelling. Perhaps from an unicorn or something.

          The big assumption in your post (which you present as a personnal knowledge, despite the obvious stupidity of the assumption) is that it is faster to switch an entire worldwide chain of manufacturing, storage, and distribution (traditionnally several weeks if not month*) than switching versions of a website (seconds, if everything goes according to plan. More often, minutes).

          * years if you consider 3rd-party distributors

          1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

            PS: Re: Or Maybe.....

            On second thought Occam's razor tells me that in addition to poor knowledge of The Channel you probably did not read the post you answered to in full. I suggest you consider the last 2 lines about upgrade mechanisms, in place in most modern tech companies, including Apple sometimes. These make it possible for customers having bought an old version of the product soon before the announcement of a new product to return their purchase and have it replaced with the more current offering, at little or no cost.

            The website blackout does definitely not serve any technical purpose.


            1. Lance 3

              Re: PS: Or Maybe.....

              "These make it possible for customers having bought an old version of the product soon before the announcement of a new product to return their purchase and have it replaced with the more current offering, at little or no cost.

              The website blackout does definitely not serve any technical purpose."

              Except that you keep someone from ordering a machine and then wanting to return it for the latest one. Why add to it when it is unnecessary? It is a waste of time and money to sell the previous model only to have them return it. Apple can't shut their site down for 14-days ahead of time now could they? So that is a cost of doing business to them, but adding more is just idiotic, something you have a doctorate in.

          2. Lance 3

            Re: Or Maybe.....

            Yes, they are not available. Apple no longer sells them, you cannot order them through the site any longer, they are REMOVED. Go find the previous MacBook Pro on their site to order, hwo about the previous MacBook Air? What, you can only find the new models, I wonder why that is.

            Also, before a product refresh, there are signs on supply constraints for some of the models. Do you really think that Apple is going to continue to produce these models and stockpile the previous model when they are going to introduce a new one? Before WWDC, you could see that many models said 1-day shipping. If you ordered prior, you would get the previous model, if you order after, you get the latest. it is not a hard concept to understand.

            As for distribution, many many times, they drop ship them from China. They don't have months and months of systems in a warehouse or even weeks worth. Apple more or less deals with on-demand production. It is also not uncommon that some machines in a product line are hard to get leading up to an announcement and others are not. Resellers on the other hard usually still have the previous generation on hand after a new product announcement.

            Also to show how ludicrous your comment is, many companies do not keep a lot of product on hand. Cisco is another good example, I have ordered millions of dollars of equipment and it takes 2 to 8 weeks (and sometimes even longer) for it to come in. Each day you might a few boxes; it never arrives all at once. Cisco didn't have it on hand, it was coming from China. if I wet through a reseller, I could have gotten it quicker, as Cisco lets the resellers do the warehousing and Cisco produces the kit when they demand is there as well as stockpile orders in the meantime. Alcatel-Lucent is another good example, whenever I have placed an order, it takes weeks to get and if you look at the tracking information, it shipped a few days before it being received. If you are talking about a TV set, yes, they Sony, the distributors, the store all have stock.

            Lastly, true details of the new hardware were scarcely known until a day or two before the announcement. Things like part numbers being entered into systems, pictures of various components, etc. if Apple spent weeks getting the distribution setup as YOU suggest, then that would require them to be in production for weeks and this is NOT THE CASE. Anyone that ordered a new machine yesterday would have seen that the FedEx tracking showing that it originated from China and yet they will have received it on Tuesday if they ordered it with next day delivery.

            Your post just proves how clueless you really are in the world of a global economy and more importantly how Apple works. Apple is very secretive and they don't provide a road map like most companies do. They are not going to produce these things weeks in advance and let the secrets be revealed until Apple is ready.

      2. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Re: Or Maybe.....

        When you buy laptop with Apple you can return it within 14 days and get a refund.

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: Or Maybe.....

      Exactly right. But of course the haters see it as another "weakness".

  12. cortezcortez

    For the love of god. "Apple site down" articles? What is this, Gizmodo? Has Jesus Diaz started writing for Reg?

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