Apple may be short of hitting its annual iPhone 13 handset production target by ten million units due to current global chip shortages.
The initial plan was to build 90 million new smartphones over October to December, but the iGiant probably won’t be able to fulfill its goal as it scrambles to obtain vital components from its partners in time.
Broadcom and Texas Instruments, suffering from the effects of the ongoing chip crunch, are struggling to deliver the hardware needed to make the iPhone 13, Bloomberg first reported.
Texas Instruments reportedly supplies components to power the smartphone’s OLED screens, measuring 6.1 inches diagonally on the standard iPhone 13 and 6.7 inches diagonally on the iPhone 13 Pro. Broadcom develops chips to support wireless technologies, like Bluetooth, LTE, or Wi-Fi connectivity on smartphones. They aren’t the only Apple suppliers facing shortages, however.
The semiconductor supply chain has been heavily strained during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hardware companies like Apple, Texas Instruments, and Broadcom rely on third-party manufacturers like TSMC and Samsung to fab their chips.
Fabrication plants, however, are facing growing backlogs of orders. Some plants were temporarily closed for a number of reasons during the pandemic, including strict stay-at-home orders, power outages, and even fires.
As people continued to work or attend school from home, manufacturers prioritized cranking out chips for PCs, tablets, and servers, leaving other industries like the automotive sector or healthcare high and dry. Several carmakers, like Toyota to Volvo, previously announced they would have to slash production of its vehicles by as much as 40 per cent, meaning tens of thousands of new cars won’t be built.
General Motors and Ford previously shut down its production plants because they couldn’t continue building their cars without the necessary chips required in everything from infotainment to braking systems. The global shortage in semiconductors isn’t letting up and is starting to affect the world’s biggest tech companies like Apple.
C.C Wei, CEO of TSMC, the world’s most advanced chip manufacturer, said the current crisis probably won’t improve until 2023. Governments around the world, including the US, UK, Europe, South Korea, and Japan have announced plans to increase funding and R&D to woo manufacturers into building new plants. Meanwhile, Intel, TSMC, and GlobalFoundries have announced plans to construct new fabs, whilst Samsung is shopping around for potential sites.
The Register asked Apple, Broadcom, and Texas Instruments for comment. ®