Bloomberg: Apple's fears of a chip shortage affecting iPhone 13 production have materialized
Apple’s iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models are off to an excellent start with many of the devices already sold out or with extended waiting times of a few weeks. Unfortunately for both customers and Apple alike, Apple will not be able to meet its goal of producing 90 million iPhone 13/Pro models in the last three months of 2021. Instead, Bloomberg reports that Apple has been forced to scale back orders by 10 million units due to chip shortages, which will mean iPhone 13 shortages are likely to continue to the end of the year and beyond.
Interestingly, it appears supply of the Apple A15 Bionic chips that power the device are not the problem. This would have been a surprise as Apple is reported to have booked out much of chip maker TSMC’s production capacity. Instead, the issue appears to be affecting some of the other chips that are supplied by partners including Texas Instruments and Broadcom. According to the iFixit teardown of the iPhone 13 Pro, both companies supply multiple semiconductor components that help the iPhone tick.
Apple had feared that its iPhone 13 production could be hit by the ongoing global chip shortage. During its Q3 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors that “we’ll do everything we can to mitigate whatever set of circumstances we are dealt.” Typically, this might mean sourcing components from alternative suppliers, but that can raise concerns with quality control and product reliability. Thorough testing and verification would also need to be undertaken if parts were to be interchanged. It seems, however, that even with Apple’s financial muscle and resources, it couldn’t guarantee parts supply under current conditions.