Production of some MacBooks and iPads has been delayed due to a global shortage of components I learned The Nikkei Asian Review, indicating that even Apple, with its colossal purchasing power, is not immune to the unprecedented supply crunch.
A lack of chips has delayed a major step in MacBook production: fitting components onto printed circuit boards prior to final assembly.
Meanwhile, some iPad assemblies have been postponed due to a shortage of screens and display components.
As a result of the delay, Apple has postponed part of its component orders for the two devices from the first half of this year to the second half.
The delays are a sign that the chip shortage is getting more serious and could further affect smaller tech companies.
Apple is known for its expertise running one of the world’s most complex supply chains, and for the speed with which it can mobilize suppliers.
This has helped the company cope with a global component shortage that is already stressing car and electronics manufacturers alike.
Production plans for iPhones have not yet been affected by the shortage of supply, despite the fact that the provision of some hardware components is very tight.
Component shortages remain a problem in Apple’s supply chain and have so far had no effect on the availability of products to consumers.
Apple sells about 200 million iPhones, more than 20 million MacBooks, 19 million iPads, and more than 70 million pairs of AirPods annually.
These devices rank in the top five in the world in the consumer electronics sectors, making the company one of the most powerful buying forces in the world.
Apple is the fourth largest laptop maker in the world with a 7.6 percent market share, lagging behind Lenovo, HP and Dell in 2020.
Meanwhile, iPads are the clear leaders in the tablet market, with a 32.5 percent share last year, followed by Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo and Amazon.
The fact that the supply crisis has spread to MacBook and iPads shows that a lack of components remains a serious problem, and could deal a more serious blow to tech players who have less bargaining power and less supply chain management experience than the US company.
Demand for personal computers remains strong this year as the stay-at-home economy caused by the Coronavirus pandemic continues to boom.
The global PC market is expected to grow by more than 18 percent this year, after expanding at a rapid rate of nearly 13 percent last year.
The United States, Japan and Germany have asked Taiwan and South Korea to help prioritize chips for the auto industry, which is crucial to the global economy.
This has reduced semiconductor production for consumer electronics and computer products.