The iPhone 12 Pro Is More Popular Than Expected and Causing Chip Shortages

Illustration for article titled The iPhone 12 Pro Is More Popular Than Expected and Causing Chip Shortages
Photo: Caitlin McGarry/Gizmodo

If you’re thinking of buying an iPhone 12 Pro, you might have to wait a bit longer than expected to receive it. It appears that Apple is currently facing a shortage of power management chips that are vital to supporting new camera features and 5G, Bloomberg reports.

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This isn’t super surprising. The global pandemic wreaked havoc on supply chains earlier this year, and it seems this particular shortage stems from increased demand for silicon amid those issues. The iPhone 12 lineup was itself delayed by about a month due to production issues related to supply chain disruptions. Adding to that, 5G smartphones purportedly require 30-40% more “chip content” compared to 4G, according to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and as reported by Bloomberg. And then compounding that, some tech companies like Huawei have been stockpiling components to prepare for potential shortages...thereby creating shortages.

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That said, Apple is Apple. According to Bloomberg’s anonymous sources, suppliers are likely to prioritize Apple’s needs over other customers. That’s good news for Apple, considering we’re now entering the holiday season—a prime time for tech companies to bolster their war chests by taking advantage of increased consumer demand. If you check Apple’s U.S. store to buy an iPhone 12 Pro, it looks like delivery windows are now 3-4 weeks away. There’s no such delay on the iPhone 12, however.

One reason why the iPhone 12 Pro might be seeing delays is that Apple was caught off guard—it appears that the 12 Pro has been more popular with customers than Apple anticipated. According to Nikkei Asia, Apple has since redirected some components meant for the iPad to the 12 Pro, and asked for more than 20 million units of the iPhone 11, iPhone SE, and iPhone XR to make up for the gap this holiday season.

Speaking of increased demand, Nikkei Asia is also reporting that Apple has asked its suppliers to make 2.5 million MacBooks with its new ARM-based silicon by early 2021. Citing unnamed sources, Nikkei Asia notes that’s about 20% of total MacBook shipments in 2019 and that the chips will be supplied by TSMC using its 5-nanometer process technology. That lends credence to previously reported rumors that the new MacBooks will be based off the A14 chip featured in the new iPhones and iPad.

It’s not entirely clear which MacBooks will be the first to feature Apple Silicon, but Bloomberg reported last week that it’ll likely be a 13-inch MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a 16-inch MacBook Pro. In any case, you won’t have to wait long to find out. Apple’s third fall launch event will be next Tuesday, Nov. 10., and at this point, we all know the ARM-powered MacBooks will be the star of the show.

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Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

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DISCUSSION

fuckercarlson
FuckerCarlson

I almost read this article, but instead clicked to the comments to note that I will never click through a slideshow on these websites. I would rather just visit Engadget or some other tech site before dealing with that nonsense.