Future Apple products, like the iPhone 13, could be on the cusp of becoming more expensive thanks to chip shortages and increased supplier prices.
According to Nikkei Asia's sources, Apple's main chip supplier TSMC is reportedly in the process of upping its fabrication prices in response to the ongoing global semiconductor shortage. That means Apple may need to pay more for its chip production and could potentially pass on the costs to consumers.
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Over the past two years, the chip shortage has drastically affected both the production and prices of most flagship tech products, making it practically impossible to buy devices such as the PS5, Xbox Series X and various PC components (like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080) . As a result, many affected products have been snapped up by scalpers in order to resell them at twice or even thrice their original market value.
And although we've been cautiously hoping that this will have little-to-no effect on Apple's upcoming devices, it's now starting to look inevitable.
According to Nikkei’s source, the price changes will be "noticeable" and will mainly affect Apple's most popular devices such as iPhones and MacBooks.
Apple’s products already come with a premium price tag, mainly due to the high-quality components and materials that make up its devices. For example TSCM, Cupertino’s A-series chip supplier, produces components that are on average 20% more expensive than those of its competitors.
Now that the chipmaker’s rivals have begun raising prices, it’s rumored that TSCM will likely follow suit in order to maintain its premium status on the market. And since there’s a good chance that Apple may need to pay more to produce its products, it could mean the price of Apple devices go up as a result; the Cupertino company is not one to make a loss on its devices after all.
The source also stated that the manufacturing price increase is TSMC's move trying to weed out the clients that are trying to order more chips than necessary to ensue they get a spot on the production line.
"We are all in a great shock and all of our account managers need to speak to our customers to see if we can renegotiate some of the contracts," a chip executive reportedly told Nikkei. "We haven't seen TSMC introduce such a broad rate increase in over a decade."
And while there are no details on if and when this change may affect Apple consumers, the source speculated that the tech giant may increase the retail prices of its high-end models around next year so as to balance out its impact on its mid-range and more affordable products.
We're expecting the iPhone 13 to be revealed at an upcoming Apple event, in a matter of days. So it probably won't be tool long before we see if this tricky chip situation has seen Apple up the price of its next iPhone.