MacBooks may be in short supply after March

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The MacBook Pro has a Touch Bar, and a better display.
The coronavirus outbreak means it isn’t a good time to procrastinate on a MacBook purchase.
Photo: Apple

Now might be the best time to buy that MacBook you’ve been considering. Factory shutdowns in China because of the coronavirus outbreak will reportedly lead to shortages of components needed to make laptops.

Quanta, the company that assembles MacBooks, is ramping up notebook production in Taiwan, according to Digitimes. It’s allegedly using these facilities to make products for a variety US companies.

But moving production to its home country might not save Quanta completely from the effects of COVID-19, the disease which has so far killed 1,770 people in China. Laptop makers are reportedly going to start running out of Chinese-made components they need by the end of this month.

There are already possible signs of shortages. Those ordering some custom-configured MacBooks face wait times of over a month.

Coronavirus hurts the entire notebook market

To be clear, it won‘t just be Apple that might be facing shortages. Quanta assembles products for Dell, HP, Lenovo and many other companies.

The Chinese government has ordered many businesses — including laptop manufacturers — to close as part of its efforts to stop the further spread of a pneumonia-like illness that has struck over 71,000 people in China.

As a result, Digitimes Research predicts notebook shipments worldwide will drop 29% to 36% sequentially this quarter. That said, this is traditionally a slow time of the year for sales, so shipments were already expected to drop 17% before the outbreak.