Component shortage bites Apple, but M2 chip could still arrive soon

Apple's M1 chip, a semiconductor with a series of markings on it and a ranbow-coloured main plate, on black background
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple faces silicon production shortages that could affect its ability to ship products as it prepares to produce the next version of its in-house chip design.

Nikkei Asia reported that Apple has been forced to postpone some MacBook and iPad production due to the ongoing component shortage. Sources told the outlet the problems affected the company's ability to mount components on circuit boards just before final assembly. There is also a shortage of displays and display components that’s causing problems on iPad production lines.

This has forced the manufacturer to delay some component orders from the first half of this year to the second, which will likely delay MacBooks and iPads due in the second half of the year, reports said.

MacBook devices arriving later this year will likely feature the company's M2 chip, the latest version of the in-house silicon the company launched last year. That chip could be ready for use as early as July, said reports. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TMSC) will produce it under a 5nm process.

The shortages will be frustrating for Apple, which has been capitalizing on the work-from-home boom with soaring product sales. In its Q2 results announcement this week, Apple reported year-on-year revenues up 54% to $89.58 billion. Revenues for Macs and iPads rose 70.1% and 78.9% to $9.1 billion and $7.8 billion, respectively, over last year.

iPhones, which so far haven't been affected by the semiconductor crunch, saw revenues grow 65.5% to $47.94 billion.

Large tech companies have mostly weathered the supply shortage, although Samsung, which produces significant processor parts, has reported supply chain issues. Smartphone chip giant Qualcomm has also said it’s struggling to cope with demand. Apple's reported issues suggest that the problem is metastasizing to larger companies that have so far been able to stave off supply chain issues with their buying power.

Danny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury has been a print journalist specialising in technology since 1989 and a freelance writer since 1994. He has written for national publications on both sides of the Atlantic and has won awards for his investigative cybersecurity journalism work and his arts and culture writing. 

Danny writes about many different technology issues for audiences ranging from consumers through to software developers and CIOs. He also ghostwrites articles for many C-suite business executives in the technology sector and has worked as a presenter for multiple webinars and podcasts.