In a nutshell: Apple is feeling another effect of the coronavirus outbreak. This time, it’s the company’s stock of replacement iPhones that's been hit, with retail employees and technical support staff being warned that replacement handsets will be in short supply for the next two to four weeks.
According to Bloomberg, those with heavily damaged iPhones that require replacing will find there’s a limited supply of the devices over the coming weeks. Employees say that some stores are also noticing a shortage of individual parts, meaning certain minor repairs carried out in-store might not be possible.
When someone brings a damaged iPhone into an Apple Store, the company often provides a replacement rather than a brand-new model if the device is beyond repair. Certain individual components, such as screens, can be replaced, but the service might not be available in some locations for a while.
It’s not all bad news if you accidentally smash your iPhone, though. A memo has advised workers to mail replacement devices to customers whenever they become available. Alternatively, a new iPhone can be loaned out until a replacement is in stock.
Bloomberg adds that coronavirus disruption means Apple has started to see shortages of iPad Pros, while the supply of last year's second-best-selling handset, the iPhone 11, is also being affected internationally—something Apple warned could happen.
Apple does have some reasons to be optimistic. Foxconn, which assembles the company’s iPhones, expects production levels to return to normal levels this month, and 38 of the 42 Apple Store locations in China have now re-opened.