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Now that we’re about six months into the ongoing semiconductor shortage, the periodic updates coming in about which companies will be eating delays and slowdowns next have taken on something of a routine air. This time, it’s Apple’s turn at the dunking trough.
Apple’s superior supply line management techniques have buffered it from issues to date, but the company is beginning to have problems sourcing certain low-level parts, according to Nikkei Asia. This dovetails well with a story in Bloomberg, recently, which discussed how a shortage in $1 display drivers is causing headaches everywhere. (In this context, a display driver is an integrated hardware circuit used to control and operate a display, not a piece of software.)
While we’ve focused on high-profile GPU and CPU shortages, these aren’t the components that are keeping the entire semiconductor industry bottlenecked. As Bloomberg writes, “People stuck at home started buying technology — and then kept buying. They purchased better computers and bigger displays so they could work remotely. They got their kids new laptops for distance learning. They scooped up 4K televisions, game consoles, milk frothers, air fryers and immersion blenders to make life under quarantine more palatable. The pandemic turned into an extended Black Friday onlinepalooza.”
This has direct relevance to a quote in Nikkei Asia:
“We really don’t see an end to this shortage, and things could be even worse, looking ahead to the end of the June quarter, as some smaller tech players could run out of some critical inventories to build their products and need to scale back production,” said Wallace Gou, president and CEO of Silicon Motion.
There’s no report that this will impact any specific Apple launches or next-generation products. For now, the impact is squeezing Apple but not its customers.