Qualcomm chip shortage could hit iPhone 5 launch

Supply chain

Qualcomm has confirmed demand for its 28nm chips is outstripping supply, which analysts claim could delay the launch of the iPhone 5.

The company's 28nm Snapdragon processor is featured in devices from HTC and ASUS. It has been widely-tipped to make an appearance in the next iteration of Apple's iPhone and Microsoft's highly-anticipated Windows tablet device.

We cannot secure enough supply to meet demand.

However, with demand for tablet and smartphone devices soaring, the chip is now in short supply and is expected to remain so until the end of the year.

"Although manufacturing yields are progressing per expectation, there is a shortage of 28nm [products]," confimed Qualcomm's CEO, Paul Jacobs, during a conference call with analysts.

"At this stage, we cannot secure enough supply to meet the increasing demand we are experiencing [and] we're working closely with our partners to bring additional capacity online."

Meanwhile, Qualcomm's executive vice president, Steven Mollenkopf, said the situation has prompted some OEM partners to source alternatives.

"We have [tried] to spread the supply across all of the customers as best we can, and I think everyone is dealing with this issue," he said.

"We're really focused on getting additional supply throughout the year."

According to statement from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, published by MarketWatch, the shortage could delay the launch of the Apple iPhone 5.

"QCOM's supply issue likely pushes the launch of the iPhone to October...[which]is irrelevant, as long as the iPhone 5 upgrade is compelling," said Munster.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.