A few days ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company is “working feverishly” to boost availability, and now one of the company’s strategies has reportedly come to light, courtesy of Nikkei Asia (opens in new tab).
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According to “multiple sources,” Apple has reduced iPad production by 50% over the past two months, as shared components have instead been funnelled towards keeping iPhone 13 handsets flying off the production lines.
The report adds that production of older iPhones has also been slowed to redirect components to the most recent handset, which might explain why even the venerable old iPhone 11 is showing delays of two to three weeks.
Currently, the strategy hasn’t paid off in an obvious way, with the regular iPhone 13 showing shipping times of five to seven days, and the Pro models expected to ship within three to four weeks. That said, there’s no telling how long the lead time would have been if Apple hadn’t taken action.
But the trouble with this strategy is that while it may ensure iPhone 13 supply is smoother than it would have been, it makes the problem more acute in the tablet department. And the report notes that the enduring popularity of remote working and learning has also led to a surge in demand for various iPad models.
The upshot of this is that if you’re in the market for an iPad this Christmas, you may be better off buying sooner rather than later. A quick scout of the Apple website shows delays of two to three weeks for the iPad Air 2020 and four to five weeks for both the new iPad mini 6 (2021) and iPad 10.2 (2021). Yes, both the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros are in stock now, but with prices starting at $799 for Apple’s most expensive tablets, that won’t be useful to everyone.
The global chip shortage has been impacting everything from car production to PS5 restocks, and it may be some time before it recovers, with some believing that we may be looking at 2023. If a company with the buying power of Apple is struggling at the tail end of 2021, then if anything, that estimate feels a touch optimistic.