The semiconductor crisis: Apple is now also struggling with supply bottlenecks

Richard Müller
Zurich, on 09.04.2021
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
Until now, it seemed Apple hadn't been affected by the semiconductor shortage. But now there are indications that the high demand for semiconductor chips is also causing concern for the US tech group.

So, looks like it hit Apple too: manufacturing of some MacBooks and iPads has been postponed due to a worldwide shortage of components. This has been reported by Nikkei Asia. According to the article, this shows that even Apple, with its enormous sourcing power, isn't immune to the semiconductor crisis.

Assembly postponed

The bottleneck has apparently caused delays in an important step in MacBook production. Specifically, it involves the assembly of components on printed circuit boards prior to final assembly, as Nikkei Asia writes. The portal refers to two informants currently engaged in production. Part of the iPad assembly process has even been postponed due to supply shortages for displays and related components.

Due to this, Apple has delayed some of its component orders for the two devices from the first to the second half of the year, Nikkei Asia further reports. According to the report, this is a sign that the chip shortage is becoming more serious and could hit smaller tech companies even harder.

Apple has experience managing one of the most complicated supply chains in the world and can mobilise suppliers at breakneck speed. This has helped the company to withstand the semiconductor crisis so far. But even they can't hold forever.

Apple remains silent

Production schedules for Apple's iPhone haven't been affected by the shortage so far, although the supply of some device components is apparently «quite tight». Overall, component shortages remain a supply chain issue and haven't yet impacted product availability.

Apple declined to comment on Nikkei Asia's report.

Their rival Samsung Electronics, the world's largest smartphone maker, recently confirmed that the chip shortage could be problematic for the company during the April-June period, adding that it has teams of employees working around the clock to solve the problem.

Smartphone manufacturers aren't the only companies affected by supply bottlenecks for semiconductors. Semiconductors are built into virtually every electronic device in your home. However, car manufacturers are also affected, as a large number of semiconductors are needed there as well.

Gibt es dieses Jahr *kein neues Samsung Galaxy Note**?
HintergrundSmartphone

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However, the U.S., Japan and Germany have asked Taiwan and South Korea, the two major chip-producing countries, to prioritise chips for the automotive industry, which is critical to the global economy. This has put further pressure on the production of semiconductors for consumer electronics and computer products.

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Richard Müller
Richard Müller
Teamleader Editorial, Zurich
I'm a journalist with over 20 years of experience in various positions, mostly in online journalism. The tool I rely on for my work? A laptop – preferably connected to the Internet. In fact, I also enjoy taking apart laptops and PCs, repairing and refitting them. Why? Because it's fun!

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