Last month Apple accepted that the coronavirus was hitting its sales and warned investors that although factories are reopening in China, they are “ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated.” Now it seems the first anecdotes of a possible shortage are being spotted on the ground in Apple stores.
Employees speaking to Bloomberg with the promise on anonymity told the site that Apple had sent a memo round explaining that replacement iPhones would be in “short supply for as long as two to four weeks.” This in turn would affect how they should treat visitors who come in looking to replace damaged devices.
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Under normal conditions, Apple support staff are encouraged to offer a replacement handset when a phone is heavily damaged. A shortage of stock from the supply chain issues the coronavirus has produced means that staff are now being told that the company will post replacement iPhones to affected customers, and “provide loaner devices to ease delays.”
Even devices that could be easily fixed in normal times may be impacted, as some stores have spotted shortage of spare parts, apparently. On top of that, the site is also reporting that Apple is seeing shortages of iPad Pro tablets, and that iPhone 11 inventory is beginning to “slightly tighten” too.
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And of course Apple isn’t the only tech company to be affected by the ongoing battle with the coronavirus. Most obviously this has taken the form of the cancellation of MWC, but you can bet that other device supply chains have been disrupted too.
The upshot of this is that it may make sense to take extra special care of your Apple handset over the next couple of months – maybe even treat yourself to a new protective iPhone case. Because if you break it this Spring, even the usually all-powerful AppleCare might not ensure you walk out with a brand new handset from your appointment at the Genius Bar.