If you’re thinking about getting a new iPad or Mac in 2021, you should factor in a longer-than-usual wait time. Although Apple raked in an obscene amount of money this past quarter, CEO Tim Cook also warned in Apple’s Wednesday earnings call that there will be supply issues affecting iPads and Macs in the second half of this year.
Although Cook declined to get into the nitty-gritty, he did note that Apple’s supply chain issues would directly impact the iPad and Mac product lines. This dovetails with recent rumours that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro announced at last week’s Spring Loaded event would be delayed due to Mini-LED supply chain woes. Apple CFO Luca Maestri also confirmed on the call that Apple wasn’t immune from the global chip shortage, noting the company could see a decline of $US3-4 ($4-5) billion in revenue in Q3.
Apple has always been savvy with its supply chain. In fact, it’s Cook’s claim to fame. That savviness is a big reason why Apple wasn’t impacted by the same delays that hit other consumer electronics this past quarter, even as demand for its gadgets skyrocketed. However, according to Cook, the forthcoming delays stem from “legacy nodes,” or chips that use older manufacturing methods. These aren’t the 5nm process nodes that lie at the heart of Apple’s proprietary SoC, like the M1 or A14 Bionic. They’re more likely components like disk controllers and display drivers — basically things that don’t need newer processor tech to function well. This problem isn’t unique to Apple, either. On Twitter, analyst Ben Bajarin noted that legacy node shortages are a headache for many companies. A Bloomberg report also quotes Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark as saying the global chip shortage has turned into a “fight” among companies, and that delays could drag on well into 2023.
So, what does that mean if you pre-order a new iPad or iMac on April 30? Hit-or-miss leaker Jon Prosser claims that the iPad Pro and the new Apple TV 4K will begin shipping May 21. 9to5 Mac also spotted UK retailer John Lewis as listing the iMac’s ship date as May 21. That said, if you’re not hurting for a new computer, it might also be worth waiting a bit on a Mac. On top of delays, there have been recent reports claiming Apple’s already entered mass production for the M1’s successor.