iPhone and AirPods shipping times improve as China restarts manufacturing

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They AirPods Pro fit in their case like nothing ever happened.
AirPods Pro supplies are starting to catch up with demand.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple’s supply issues for two crucial products appear to finally be getting better, based on tracking data by Loop Ventures.

Both the iPhone and AirPods are starting to ship out to customers sooner than in previous weeks as suppliers in China finally get back up to full speed. The only thing that’s unclear is whether the improved shipping times are due to China getting back to work, or because customers in the U.S. are hunkering down.

According to Loop Ventures’ latest report, iPhone shipping times have dropped from their peak of 6.7 days on March 4 to an average lead time of just two days. Meanwhile, AirPods shipping times have dropped to an average of 7.4 days, compared to 10.6 days on March 4. AirPods Pro lead times are still nearly 4 weeks out in the U.S. though.

“Our guess is the majority of the lower lead times are related to the restart of production in China, and a minority of the improvement is from softening global demand,” writes Loop Ventures analyst Gene Munster. “We’ve tracked online lead times for Apple products over the past decade, sensitive to the reality that drawing insights from the data is tempered by the unknown supply, demand dynamic.”

The shipping time improvements are based on tracking the iPhone 11 6GB, iPhone 11 Pro 64GB, AirPods Pro and AirPods 2nd gen across 13 countries. Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors earlier this year that he couldn’t predict when AirPods Pro supply would finally catch up with demand.

Production facilities in China had to be shut down earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple’s biggest production partner, Foxconn, says it won’t be back to full capacity until the end of March.