The production of Apple iPad and MacBook has been snagged by global chip shortage, which has been steadily worsening since the past year. Initially, there was a temporary delay in supplies as factories shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit.
However, with production back to normal, a new surge in demand driven by changing habits fuelled by the pandemic means that it is now reaching a “crisis point”. Bloomberg reported that the issue with MacBooks is related to the ability to mount certain components on circuit boards ahead of the device’s assembly. Delayed iPad production is because of a shortage of displays and display components.
Because of the delay, Apple has pushed back a portion of component orders for the two devices from the first half of this year to the second half. Industry sources and experts say the delays are a sign that the chip shortage is growing more serious and could impact smaller tech players even more heavily.
Apple supplier Foxconn also blamed material shortages and supply chain delays for lower-than expected profits. On March 30, Young Liu, the company chairman said shortages will continue to affect its operations until at least the second quarter of 2022. In November 2020, a report highlighted that Apple Inc was struggling to obtain supply of power management chips for the iPhone and other devices. Shortages of chips crucial to OLED controllers could also hit iPhone screen production.
According to Nikkei Asia, production plans for Apple’s iconic iPhones have so far not been affected by the supply shortage, although the supply of some components for the devices is “quite tight”. Overall, the component shortage remains a supply chain issue for Apple and has not had an impact on product availability for consumers.
Neil Campling, media and tech analyst at Mirabaud, said chips are everything. “There is a perfect storm of supply and demand factors going on here. But basically, there is a new level of demand that can’t be kept up with, everyone is in crisis and it is getting worse.”
The chip shortage, as per The Guardian, looks set to persist for some time yet. It can take up to two years to get complex semiconductor production factories up and running, and manufacturers are in the process of significantly raising prices for the second time in less than a year.