Wednesday, January 19

Apple device shortage threatens unprecedented holiday season

Shoppers looking for Apple devices this holiday season are faced with a cold reality: Most anything they want to buy will take weeks to arrive.

Orders for the company’s newest products – iPhone 13, iPad mini, 9th-generation iPad, Apple Watch Series 7, and MacBook Pro – won’t be completed until November or December. Even some older devices, including the iMac announced in April, the Mac Pro, and some more expensive configurations of the MacBook Air, are experiencing lags.

Having to wait for an Apple product is nothing new, with the annual launch of the iPhone and other popular products bringing long lines and back orders. But this year the delays have been extended further. And that threatens to undermine what could be Apple’s biggest sales quarter in its history.

The company is expected to generate nearly $ 120 billion in the last three months of the year, 7% more than the previous year. That’s more than the combined quarterly sales of Best Buy Co., Costco Wholesale Corp., Walt Disney Co., and Target Corp.

In a year when Apple should be enjoying one of its biggest product update cycles, navigating the supply crisis is the “elephant in the room,” said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

The iPhone, Apple’s flagship product, accounting for about half of its sales, is the highest-profile shortage case. A month after going on sale, the iPhone 13 Pro is hard to find in all colors, configurations, and sizes. That’s rarely the case, according to Apple store employees, some of whom say they are increasingly dealing with frustrated customers.

If you order the product on Apple’s US website, it won’t arrive until November 18 and November 26, approaching the Thanksgiving holiday. The same dates apply to newer Apple iPads. And the shortage extends to the company’s physical stores, with most outlets seeing little to no offerings for most models.

A spokeswoman for Apple, based in Cupertino, California, declined to comment.

The season isn’t going well for other tech giants, either. Google has already seen many of its new Pixel 6 models sell out, while Inc.’s latest device listing won’t launch until late 2021 at the earliest. Sony Group Corp.’s PlayStation 5 is still in short supply after being on sale for nearly a year, and Samsung Electronics Co. has warned of its own shortage.

The problems go far beyond the technological world. A traffic jam at US ports and labor shortages have increased the spectrum of empty store shelves, for gifts, food and other items, during the Christmas season. The situation is looming over the economy’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Biden administration is struggling to fix the bottlenecks.

For Apple, certain components have been particularly difficult to come by. Shortage of supplies from chipmakers like Broadcom Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. forced Apple to cut its iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as much as 10 million units, Bloomberg reported this month.

Apple CEO Tim Cook warned of the limitations in the company’s latest quarterly earnings call, saying they are part of a larger industry shortage. Apple will report its fourth-quarter taxable earnings on October 28.

Given its ability to mitigate supply chain problems in the past, Apple could correct the imbalance before the end of December. Wall Street is generally bullish. Launching so many products at once has been seen as a sign of confidence.

“Apple’s announcements suggest that it is significantly better at navigating these outages,” compared to other manufacturers, Citigroup Inc. analysts Jim Suva and Asiya Merchant said in a report.

But even some older Apple products are hard to come by, a worrying sign. Apple’s website shows that new shipments of the iPhone 11 won’t arrive until mid-November, while the iPhone 12 shows deliveries between the end of this month and early next. Retail employees said those phones are also in short supply or out of stock in many stores across the country.

Buyers wait a month or more for the Apple Watch Series 7, which debuted earlier this month. That device suffered from production issues related to the production of its display. Similar delays are hitting older Apple watches too.

The new MacBook Pro went on sale Monday, and she quickly saw order shipping dates slide between mid-to-late November, depending on configuration.

Less expensive items that could be “sock fillers” for the holidays are easier to come by. Supplies of the company’s newest AirPods and older AirPods Pro, AirPods Max earbuds, HomePod mini, AirTag item finder, and Apple TV are available for almost immediate shipment from Apple’s website and many stores. retailers.

But even some of Apple’s less sophisticated products are not available. That includes the $ 19 cleaning cloth the company introduced this week.

The “iCloth” was teased online, especially for its price, and yet enough people bought them to make supplies scarce. New orders won’t arrive for three months.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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