The new products will be shipped this week. However, according to people familiar with Apples supply chain, production of these devices may have started as early as early January.
As novel coronavirus outbreak in Malaysia forced the closure of suppliers factories, and the spread of the virus has disrupted business in many other parts of the world, Apples supply chain has also been affected.
People familiar with the matter said Apples new flagship iPhone, with 5g Internet capabilities, is still scheduled to launch this fall, though production will not start until May.
Brad gastwirth, chief technology strategist at wedbush securities, wrote in a recent report to investors: there is still a potential for serious disruption in the supply chain of the electronics industry worldwide.
An apple spokesman declined to comment. Tim Cook, Apples chief executive, said on February 28 that production problems were temporary..
The supply of iPhones and airpods has been limited for a while, but it has gradually returned to normal.
The new product released last week shows that Apples supply chain is under pressure, but it also shows that if there is enough time, the company can still mass produce equipment. Keyboard accessories for the new iPad Pro have also been released, but will be available in May, with an unusual delay.
In fact, mass assembly is just part of Apples supply chain. The company and many partners spend months or years looking for parts to assemble into the final product. Any interruption of this complex network may delay the release of new devices.
not all businesses are going at a normal pace because the supply of parts is still very slow, said one person working in Apples supply chain. It will take a month or even longer for the parts supply to operate stably in the whole supply chain system, the person said.
Jabil, which makes the iPhones case, recently said its factories in China were close to normal, while those in the rest of the world were 5% to 10% lower than usual.
Its mainly about the supply chain, said mark Mondello, the companys chief executive. When we sit here today, I think China is the place where we dont have to worry about the most. As long as we can get the parts, we can meet the demand.
Malaysias two-week blockade has affected several key suppliers with operations in the country. Murata, Risa and Nippon Yifei, which make chips and circuit boards for apple, have all stopped producing them locally.
Meguiar technology, which makes memory chips for Apple devices, has also been affected. But the company said the exemption allowed limited semiconductor business to continue.. Texas Instruments and Ansem semiconductor also have factories in Malaysia.
Similarly, Apples suppliers and businesses in other countries such as Italy, Germany, the UK and South Korea have been hit hard by the virus.
Samsung monitors and LG monitors make iPhone screens in South Korea, while many Apple engineers develop mobile modems in Munich, Germany. Apple also operates previous dialog semiconductor plants in Leghorn, Italy, leyburn, Germany, and Swindon, UK, to produce power management chips.
Apple has hundreds of R & D engineers in Israel, engaged in the research and development of new processors and basic technologies. But at present, Israel only allows local people to leave home when necessary, such as buying food and medicine.
In the US, Apples supply chain includes Cornings glass, as well as wireless chips from qorvo, Scarlett and Broadcom. Novel coronavirus will have an impact on our semiconductor business, especially in the second half of this fiscal year, Chen Fuyang, chief executive of Broadcom, recently said.
Chip manufacturing and testing take months, and companies need months of inventory. That means Apple and other device makers may not have suffered the most disruption yet.
The novel coronavirus may challenge Apples ability to design and test new products in Silicon Valley. In addition to employees in key positions, the company has asked employees in offices around the world to telecommute..
The 5giphones, which will be launched this autumn, have not been seriously affected. A person familiar with Apples supply chain said Apple had been able to produce a limited number of beta new models.
People familiar with the matter said that Apple usually completed most of the functional design of the new iPhone between November and December the year before the launch of the new product, started mass production of the new shell around April, and then entered the post production stage of assembly, testing and packaging around May.
Another person familiar with Apples supply chain said the typical schedule could still be delayed. (Chen Chen)
Source: Wang Fengzhi, editor in charge of Netease Technology Report