Apple hit by power chip shortages for iPhone 12

Closed factories and public transport restrictions blamed for slow output

Apple is struggling to source chips that manage power consumption in a number of its devices, including the iPhone range.

The shortage means the company may not be able to fully meet demand for its devices in the run-up to the holiday season, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The shortfall has been blamed on an increase in demand for silicon, as well as supply-chain issues related to the spread of coronavirus.

The increased demand for silicon is likely due to the surge in the development of 5G phones. According to chip maker TSMC, 5G smartphones require around 33% more silicon during the construction process than 4G devices. Stockpiling is another issue; Huawei is said to have stocked up on components before a September deadline for US sanctions, the report said.

The rolling lockdowns that are preventing workers from entering factories, and the severing of transport routes, are likely to hinder manufacturing output for the next six months, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg.

In a recent conference call with analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook warned that supply constraints for the iPhone 12, Mac, iPad, and some Apple Watch models were likely, and it was "hard to predict” how long the supply constraints will last.

Several vendors supply power management chips to Apple, including Texas Instruments, STMicroelectronics NV, and Qualcomm. The iPhone 12 boasts Micron memory, Samsung flash storage, Qualcomm's 5G and LTE transceiver, a 5G modem, Apple's U1 chip, and a power management controller.

At present, Apple’s US website states that new iPhone 12 Pro orders won't be in customers’ hands until late November or early December. The standard iPhone 12 doesn’t have any such delays.

Apple is slated to launch new laptops featuring its own silicon at a special event next week.

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