Improved iPhone, AirPods availability suggests Chinese production nearing normality

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2020
Improvements in the availability of key Apple products imply supply partners in China have largely returned to regular production output after COVID-19 shut down operations in early 2020, a report said Wednesday.

iPhone 11


According to Loup Ventures' Gene Munster, the lead times of four key Apple products -- 64GB iPhone 11, 64GB iPhone 11 Pro, AirPods Pro and the second-generation AirPods -- as measured across 13 countries has significantly improved over the past two weeks. The firm has been tracking availability since mid-February.

Specifically, iPhone availability is now at an average of two days, down from a peak of 6.7 days recorded on March 4. Likewise, AirPods ship times are down to an average of 7.4 days compared to 10.6 days on March 4.

While Munster is unable to definitively link the improvements to increased supply, he believes the lower lead times are in large part attributed to a restart to Chinese production. Softening demand likely accounts for a "minority" of the uptick in stock, the analyst says.

"In the case of the supply of Apple products over the past month, the key variable was the closure of manufacturing and assembly in China," Munster writes. "In the days following Apple's announcement that the March quarter would be below expectations on February 17, we saw lead times extend. In the days following reports of the restart of manufacturing in China, we've seen lead times to improve."

Like the rest of China, Apple's partner suppliers in the region took a hit in February as the novel coronavirus forced plant closures during the Chinese New Year holiday. In January, Foxconn, the company responsible for a bulk of Apple's device lineup, said the virus would not impact manufacturing. Days later, the firm shuttered its facilities and told workers to stay home.

In mid-February, Foxconn was targeting a production restart that would bring output capacity up to 50% by the end of the month. An aggressive timetable ultimately saw the assembler return to normal operating status on March 12, weeks ahead of schedule.

Apple is still dealing with fallout from COVID-19 and this week closed all retail stores outside of Greater China in a bid to minimize spread of the virus. The company was also forced to reformat its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in light of the pandemic, and last week announced the event will be held completely online.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    quazzequazze Posts: 29member
    Or I s it perhaps lead-times have changed because demand has fallen?

    I’m not convinced production has picked back up in China (full steam ahead type mode). No way.

    Optimistic Gene might be stretching here.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    ben20ben20 Posts: 126member
    Sign in to Facebook and check the comments on South China Morning Post. Great lesson why we should never ever manufacture in China again!
    Stay safe and healthy!
  • Reply 3 of 12
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,094member
    ben20 said:
    Sign in to Facebook and check the comments on South China Morning Post. Great lesson why we should never ever manufacture in China again!
    Stay safe and healthy!
    If it's posted on FaceBook, then it MUST be true.
    mwhiteBeatslkruppbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    It took exactly 1 month for me to get my engraved AirPods Pro since ordering. They came 2 days earlier than Apple's estimate. I'm glad I picked them up last week before the Apple store shutdowns took effect.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    rynoyesrynoyes Posts: 16member
    No one is going to buy them because people don’t have jobs
  • Reply 6 of 12
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,362member
    ben20 said:
    Sign in to Facebook and check the comments on South China Morning Post. Great lesson why we should never ever manufacture in China again!
    Stay safe and healthy!

    I'm sure Apple would LOVE to hear your alternative to "never manufacturing in China again".  Where the fuck should Apple manufacture the bulk of it's products?
    BeatslkruppGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    ivanhivanh Posts: 597member
    Availability improves? Then why Apple close all stores worldwide? There’s nothing to sell! No spare parts to fix defective devices. And it saves part-time and non-permanent staff costs.
    How does international logistics work when many countries have closed their borders? The recent one is Australia.
    Let’s see what’s going to happen after 27 Match.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    rynoyes said:
    No one is going to buy them because people don’t have jobs

    Are you being sarcastic or a nub?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    Unfortunately, inventory is building because demand has collapsed. My prior posts to ‘buy on fear sell on greed’ strategy is now out the window... that will no longer work ... this is something the world has never seen. Where will the money come from to prop the world economy back up? Very tempting, but, I for one will sit on the cash I have, way too risky to pick a bottom, just yet. Think about a scenario where US virus cases increase substantially and businesses further get slaughtered - there is more blood to be shed. I’ll wake from hibernation in June to assess, and determine if there are investment opportunities. The Russians are gleefully adding to the pain by destroying the oil market - it’s a perfect storm shxt show. My projection: any semblance of normal will take 18months+
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,182member
    ben20 said:
    Sign in to Facebook and check the comments on South China Morning Post. Great lesson why we should never ever manufacture in China again!
    Stay safe and healthy!
    Social media is the absolutely WORST way to get information, period.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    quazze said:
    Or I s it perhaps lead-times have changed because demand has fallen?

    I’m not convinced production has picked back up in China (full steam ahead type mode). No way.

    Optimistic Gene might be stretching here.

    China had no new local cases of the virus.

    Coronavirus updates: China reports no new domestic cases

     

    Despite the fact they led the way in identifying and organizing a response to the virus, they now are leading the pack.
    The U.S. needs to take some lessons from them instead of worrying about its stock market and the next election.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,259member
    ivanh said:
    Availability improves? Then why Apple close all stores worldwide? There’s nothing to sell! No spare parts to fix defective devices.
    No. The stores were closed out of safety concerns — social distancing to flatten the curve of demand on local medical services not equipped to deal with a bunch of patients with respiratory illness.  
    GeorgeBMaclkruppwatto_cobra
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