TAIPEI – Production of some MacBooks and iPads has been postponed due to global component shortages, Nikkei Asia has learned, a sign that even Apple, with its enormous purchasing power, is not immune to the crisis unprecedented supply.
Chip shortages have resulted in delays at a key stage in MacBook production – mounting components on circuit boards before final assembly – sources with information on the matter have told Nikkei Asia. Some iPad assemblies, meanwhile, have been postponed due to a shortage of screens and display components, sources say.
Due to the delay, Apple has pushed back part of component orders for the two devices from the first half of this year to the second half, people said. Sources and industry experts say the delays are a sign that the chip shortage is becoming more severe and could have an even bigger impact on small tech players.
Apple is known for its expertise in managing one of the world’s most complex supply chains and for how quickly it can engage suppliers. This has helped the company weather a global component shortage that is already squeezing automakers and electronics manufacturers.
Production plans for Apple’s iconic iPhones have so far not been affected by the supply shortage, although the supply of some components for the devices is “pretty tight,” according to two sources. Overall, the component shortage remains a supply chain issue for Apple and has yet to impact product availability to consumers, Nikkei has learned.
Apple declined to comment for this story.
Apple rival Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone maker, recently confirmed that the chip shortage could be problematic for the company between April and June, adding that it has teams of employees working 24 24 hours to solve the problem.
Big players like Apple, Samsung Electronics and HP have a lot of leverage with suppliers to demand that their orders be prioritized when capacity is limited, said Peter Hanbury, partner at consultancy Bain & Co. “They have also developed a sophisticated purchasing and supply chain capabilities, including collaborative planning with semiconductor manufacturing partners and high visibility into where their products are made so they can anticipate such shortages, ” did he declare.
Now, however, “the demand for some of these major product categories has exceeded the total available capacity,” Hanbury added. “They now face the same long-term challenges [as their chip suppliers and production partners] to increase production capacity, which takes years and billions of dollars. “
Apple sells around 200 million iPhones, more than 20 million MacBooks, 19 million iPads, and more than 70 million pairs of AirPods per year – all ranking in the top five in the world in their large electronics segments. respective audiences – making the company one of the most powerful supply forces in the world.
Apple is the fourth largest laptop maker in the world with 7.6% market share, behind Lenovo Group Holding, HP and Dell in 2020. Apple’s iPads, on the other hand, are clearly the market leader. tablets, with a 32.5% share last year, followed by Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo and Amazon, IDC data showed.
The fact that the supply crunch has spread to MacBooks and iPads – two key Apple articles – shows that the component shortage remains a serious problem and could deal a bigger blow to tech players who have less power. trading and supply chain management expertise than the US company, industry executives told Nikkei Asia.
“We really don’t see an end to this shortage, and things could be even worse, heading into the end of the June quarter, as some small tech players might run out of critical inventories to build their products and need to evolve. back to production, ”said Wallace Gou, president and CEO of Silicon Motion, a developer of NAND flash memory controller chips that supplies Samsung, Western Digital, Micron, Kingston and more.
PC demand remains strong this year as the home economy driven by the coronavirus pandemic continues to thrive. The global PC market is expected to grow by more than 18% this year, following rapid expansion of nearly 13% last year, according to research agency IDC.
However, the United States, Japan and Germany have called on Taiwan and South Korea, the two major chip-producing countries, to help them prioritize chips for the crucial auto industry. for the global economy. This further reduced the production of semiconductors for consumer electronics and computer products.