TAIPEI – Production of some MacBooks and iPads has been delayed due to the global component shortage, Nikkei Asia has learned, in a sign that even Apple, with its enormous procurement power, is not immune to the unique supply crisis.
Chip shortages have led to delays in an important step in MacBook production – assembly of components on circuit boards before final assembly – sources informed about the case told Nikkei Asia. Some iPad mounts, meanwhile, were delayed due to a lack of screens and display components, sources said.
As a result of the delay, Apple has pushed back some 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 severely and could affect smaller technological players even more severely.
Apple is known for its expertise in managing one of the world̵
Production plans for Apple’s iconic iPhones have so far not been affected by supply shortages, although access to some components of the devices is “quite tight”, according to two sources. Overall, component shortages remain a problem for Apple’s supply chain and have yet to have an impact on consumer product availability, Nikkei has learned.
Apple declined to comment on this story.
Apple’s rival Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone maker, recently confirmed that chip shortages could be problematic for the company in the April to June period, adding that it has teams of employees working around the clock to solve the problem.
Major players such as Apple, Samsung Electronics and HP have a lot of influence over suppliers to demand that their orders be prioritized when capacity is limited, said Peter Hanbury, a partner with the consulting firm Bain & Co. “They have also developed sophisticated procurement and supply chain capabilities, including collaborative planning with semiconductor production partners and strong insight into where their products are produced, so they can face shortages like this,” he said.
Now, however, “demand for some of these major product categories has exceeded the total available capacity,” Hanbury added. “They are now facing the same long-term challenges [as their chip suppliers and production partners] to add 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 a year – all ranked among the top five globally in their respective consumer electronics segments – making the company one of the world’s most powerful procurement forces.
Apple is the world’s fourth largest laptop maker with a 7.6% market share, and will follow Lenovo Group Holding, HP and Dell in 2020. Meanwhile, Apple’s iPads are the clear leader in the tablet market, with a share of 32.5% last year, followed by of Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo and Amazon, showed IDC data.
The fact that the supply crisis has spread to MacBooks and iPads – two important Apple articles – shows that component shortages are still a serious problem and can give a more serious blow to technology players who have less bargaining power and supply chain management skills than the US company, industry leaders told Nikkei Asia.
“We really do not see an end to this shortage, and things could be even worse, when we look forward to the end of the June quarter, when some smaller technical players may run out of some critical inventory to build their products and need to scale. “back production,” said Wallace Gou, president and CEO of Silicon Motion, a NAND flash memory chip developer that supplies Samsung, Western Digital, Micron, Kingston and many others.
PC demand remains strong this year as the home-to-home economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues to flourish. The global PC market is expected to grow by more than 18% this year, after expanding with a rapid cut of almost 13% last year, according to research agency IDC.
However, the United States, Japan and Germany have called on Taiwan and South Korea, the two main key manufacturing economies, to help prioritize chips for the automotive industry, which is crucial for the world economy. This has further put pressure on the production of semiconductors for consumer electronics and computer products.