While Apple had plenty of good news to share with investors following its record breaking quarter, there was a sting in the tail with possible bad news coming down the track. It seems the company is not immune from the global chip shortage, and investors were warned that iPhone 13 and iPad supply could suffer as a result.
“We expect supply constraints during the September quarter to be greater than what we experienced during the June quarter,” Apple’s chief financial officer Luca Maestri said during the Q3 2021 earnings call to investors. “The constraints will primarily impact iPhone and iPad.”
Crucially, September is the date when both the iPhone 13 and Apple Watch 7 are expected to launch. There’s a degree of speculation here, but given the company has held a September event for new iPhones every year since 2012 (barring last year, when Covid delayed it a month), it’s a fairly safe bet.
Apple was keen to reassure investors that double-digit growth is still expected, but warned that it would be lower than the figures currently being celebrated. And it’s all thanks to the semiconductor shortage affecting everyone from console makers to car builders.
“The majority of the constraints we’re seeing are of the variety others are seeing – I’d classify it as an industry shortage,” said CEO Tim Cook in the Q&A section of the call. “We do have some shortages where demand is so great and beyond our own expectations that it is difficult to get our entire set of parts within the lead times where we try to get those.”
How much of this is just dampening expectations after a stunning quarter where the company recorded $21.7 billion of profit is unclear, but notably it does clash with the report that Apple is upping iPhone 13 production by 20%.
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That said, if Apple is underestimating the shortfall, then it could be a tough few years for investors, with Intel’s CEO last week warning that the chip shortage could last until 2023 impacting not just the iPhone 13, but the rumoured super-strong iPhone 14 Pro too.