Apple, Facebook Post Blockbuster Earnings

Apple warns that supply issues could make it harder to buy its products in coming months

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Friday 30 April 2021 07:43

Some Apple products could be about to become harder to buy, the company has warned.

It is facing stock issues that could primarily affect its iPads and Macs, but might also make it more difficult to find other Apple devices, it said.

The announcement came amid the release of its record second quarter results, which showed sales up 54 per cent and a potential record year for the company.

But that high demand – as well as problems with supply – could cause issues for the company as it heads into the second half of the year, it said.

The announcement comes as Apple prepares to launch new versions of both the iPad and Mac. They have had an unusually long gap between their announcement and release – though it is not clear if that is a result of any projected problems with supply.

Apple said that the issues were caused partly as a result of the semiconductor shortages that has caused problems for everything from cars to the PlayStation 5. A collision of factors – including the pandemic, droughts in Taiwan and higher than usual demand for smart devices in lockdown – have meant that computer chips of any kind have become scarce.

But Apple is also being hit by higher than usual demand for its products, too, in part because people are working from home more and therefore need Macs.

“The constraints come from the semiconductor shortages that are affecting many, many industries, and it’s a combination of the shortages, as well as the very, very high level of demand that we are seeing for both iPad and Mac,” Apple’s chief financial officer Luca Maestri said. “For Mac, for example, if you just -- just to keep it into context, the last three quarters of Mac have been the best three quarters ever in the history of the product, right?

“So we are experiencing an incredible level of demand, which certainly is favored by working from home and learning from home environment, but also by the incredible amount of new products and innovation that we put into the products that we launched during the last couple of quarters.”

Part of the problem could be that Apple was able to ensure that it did not have supply shortages in the second quarter by “collapsing all of your buffers and offsets”, chief executive Tim Cook said. “And that happens all the way through the supply chain.”

That means that those buffers could be used up and the company will not be able to use them to ensure it has full supply into the second half of the year, Mr Cook said. As such, he said that he expects any problems Apple has with selling products to be constrained by supply, not demand.

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