Skip to main content

iPhone 13 delivery times going from bad to ridiculous — here’s why

iphone 13 from the back
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The newly introduced iPhone 13 has been on sale for barely a week, yet it appears that Apple is reportedly facing a strain in production for both the base and the Pro models, leading to longer delivery times for customers that are yet to place their orders. 

That's according to a new report from Nikkei Asia (via MacRumors), which claims that the issue could be caused by the recent COVID-19 wave in Vietnam and reduced manufacturing capacity for the lineup's upgraded camera systems.

"The disruption is mainly associated with constrained supplies of camera modules for the four iPhone 13 models because a significant number of its component parts are assembled in Vietnam," the source explained. 

According to Nikkei Asia, this year's rollout of the iPhone 13 models was initially expected to go a lot smoother, "given that most changes to the updated devices are only incremental and Apple has been able to stockpile many key components."

However, because Apple decided to implement the sensor-shift stabilization technology to the entire lineup, the suppliers hit a snag in an attempt to increase production without sacrificing the quality, all the while operating under strict COVID-19 restrictions. 

A direct source had reportedly told Nikkei Asia that "assemblers can still produce the new iPhones, but there's a supply gap [in] that the inventories of the camera modules are running low." The executive had also noted that at this stage, the company is monitoring the situation in Vietnam in hopes that the production will be ramped up in due course. 

This is already affecting iPhone 13 orders worldwide, with U.S. customers facing up to four weeks in waiting time according to the online Apple store. The situation isn't any better in China, one of Apple's largest markets, with the current waiting time for the iPhone 13 Pro Sierra Blue with 512GB estimated to be up to five weeks. Last time we checked, the waiting estimate for the same model on the U.S. website ranged from 3-4 weeks. 

But it looks like the iPhone 13 isn't the only device that customers may be waiting a while for. Recently, we reported on the iPad mini 6 shipping delays, with some configurations indicating a delivery estimate slipping all the way into November. And while the causes could be different, the classic supply vs. demand factor may be playing a role, too. After all, this wouldn't be the first time that such delays took place soon after Apple wraps up an event. A similar issue appeared shortly after this year's Spring Loaded event, when customers reported similar shipping delays with the iPad Pro 2021

According to Nikkei Asia, the situation may improve around mid-October when the demand settles, taking the pressure off production. So until then, customers who are looking to purchase the new iPhone 13 may have to wait considerably longer than usual. 

Denise Primbet

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering all things tech, gaming software/hardware, streaming, and more. She regularly produces short-form news articles as well as long-form content, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not live-streaming horror games on Twitch, she can be found exploring East London while playing Pokemon Go. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.