In context: It’s long been reported that Apple isn’t feeling the chip shortage quite as much as other firms, but it might not be immune to its effects. According to a new report, Cupertino has reduced its iPad production to allocate components to the iPhone 13.
Citing “multiple sources,” Nikkei Asia reports that iPad production has been slashed in half from Apple’s original plans for the last two months, with components originally destined for the company’s tablets instead heading to the iPhone 13 lineup.
The publication adds that production of older iPhones has also slowed down as components are redirected to the company’s latest handsets.
The iPhone 13 shares several components with the new iPad Mini, including its A15 Bionic chip, which is downclocked slightly to 2.9GHz in the tablet as opposed to 3.2GHz in the iPhones. The move may seem a little unusual given how much iPad shipments have surged throughout the pandemic—up 6.7% YoY to 53.2 million—but Apple wants to prioritize its latest iPhones, especially as the majority of sales come in the first few months after release (the handsets launched on September 24).
While the likes of Nvidia and AMD are being hit hard by the chip shortage—a fact that is reflected in the latest Steam survey—Apple has got off comparatively lightly. An August report said the chip situation was affecting “everyone but Apple,” and we’ve heard claims that TSMC increased its chip prices for its number one customer by just 3% while others faced 20% rises.
But Apple isn’t wholly unaffected. It had to delay MacBook and iPad production earlier this year because of the constraints, and Tim Cook said shortages meant revenue for July-September was $6 billion lower than it should have been.
Apple’s website currently has the iPhone 13 shipping in 5-7 business days, while the Pro and Pro Max are at 3-4 weeks, so we might not be seeing the benefits of redirecting the iPads’ components just yet. And don't be surprised if certain tablets’ availability worsens; the new iPad and iPad Mini already have a 4 – 5 week shipping time, so buy now if you want one for Christmas.