Global chip shortage could make iPad and MacBook hard to find

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MacBook Air M1 2020
MacBooks may get a bit more elusive later in 2021.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

MacBooks and iPads could face severe delays later this year due to a global chip shortage. While Apple has done its best to insulate itself, the company is “not immune” from the “unprecedented supply crunch,” Nikkei Asia reports.

The lack of key computer components initially stemmed from factories shuttered at the start of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, boosted demand resulting from “changing habits fueled by the pandemic” appear to have compounded the problem.

iPhones haven’t been affected so far

Last year, production challenges caused by COVID-19 delayed the iPhone 12 launch. Now it seems Apple’s not out of the woods. Similar manufacturing challenges could ripple outward to other products, according to Nikkei:

“Chip shortages have caused delays in a key step in MacBook production — the mounting of components on printed circuit boards before final assembly — sources briefed on the matter told Nikkei Asia. Some iPad assembly, meanwhile, was postponed because of a shortage of displays and display components, sources said.

As a result 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, the people said. 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.”

This year’s production plans for the iPhone remain unaffected by the supply shortage at this point. But Nikkei called supply of some iPhone components “quite tight.”

Customers don’t feel the squeeze … yet

The report also notes that customers have not yet felt the brunt of the current squeeze. However, presumably this will follow at some point, even if Apple has done its best to stockpile components.

Source: Nikkei Asia