Apple cuts iPad production to combat iPhone 13 component shortages

Apple cuts iPad production to combat iPhone 13 component shortages

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iPhone 13 Pro
Apple is doing its best to ensure a steady supply of iPhone 13 units.
Photo: Apple

Apple has “cut back sharply” on iPad production in an effort to combat component shortages affecting iPhone 13, according to a new report, which suggests chip supply problems are hitting Cupertino harder than expected.

Sources say iPad production over the last two months was down 50% from Apple’s original plans. The company has also cut production of older iPhone models so their components can be used in the latest handsets instead.

iPhone 13 supply problems hit iPad production

Monday reports revealed that iPad shipments saw notable increases during the third quarter of 2021 as life slowly returned to normal following a wane in COVID-19. But growth could soon stall as iPad supplies diminish.

Nikkei Asia reported on Tuesday that Apple has cut iPad production by 50% to focus on meeting iPhone 13 demand amid ongoing component shortages, which may be affecting Cupertino “harder than previously indicated.”

Apple has also had to reduce the manufacturing of older iPhone models, the report claims, with components originally intended for those devices now going to its more recent flagships instead.

“The company is prioritizing iPhone 13 output in part because it forecasts stronger demand for the smartphone than for the iPad as Western markets begin to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, sources said.”

Smooth production a ‘top priority’

Demand for iPhone 13 is expected to peak in the coming months as we enter the holiday period, which is incredibly lucrative for Apple — and most other companies. Ensuring smooth iPhone 13 production is said to be a “top priority.”

Nikkei claims Apple made similar moves last year when it shifted some components originally intended for iPad to iPhone 12. The report warns it could lead to “significant wait times” for new iPad units this time around.

It seems iPad supply may have already been affected. Some devices, like the entry-level iPad with 256GB of storage, are proving difficult to obtain in the U.S. and other markets, which shipping estimates slipping into December.

Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted during the company’s earnings call last month that global chip shortages have led to manufacturing disruptions — and that those are expected to continue into the final quarter of 2021 and beyond.