Supply issues causing major Apple delays
There are certain times of year that have become known for new Apple product drops. For most of the last decade, we’ve seen new iPhones announced in September, new iPads in March and new Apple TV models in either September or March. Last year, however, that usual announcement schedule was thrown into complete disarray due to a certain global pandemic, with the iPhone 12 pushed back to October and the Apple Watch 6 and SE, iPad Air, M1 MacBooks, HomePod Mini and AirPods Max announcements scattered through the last few months of 2020.
Unfortunately, it seems these delays won’t be rectified any time soon, thanks to ongoing components shortages – notably chips and display parts. According to Nikkei Asia, Apple has not been immune to the “unprecedented supply crunch” affecting tech production globally, being forced to push back component orders from the first half of the year to the second. This production delay was only worsened by the Suez Canal blockage, which disrupted the already struggling supply chain.
9.7-inch iPads and 14- and 16-inch MacBooks are said to have been hit the hardest by the supply issues, which could explain why the expected March announcement of the iPad Pro, iPad Mini and Apple AirTags did not go ahead. Despite the delays, these products are still rumoured to be announced in the coming weeks.
Though the production issues are mostly affecting iPads and MacBooks, a source admitted to Nikkei Asia that the supply of certain iPhone components is also “quite tight”, so it’s possible we may see another October iPhone announcement this year to buy some much-needed time for the tech giant. Last year’s October iPhone 12 announcement marked the first time in eight years that Apple’s flagship phone was not unveiled in September.