Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Apple has faced several production problems and supply slowdown. Now, a new report adds fuel claiming that Apple is ‘scrambling’ to prevent product delays. This is because Apple’s engineering team is unable to travel to China to assess iPhone prototype assembly due to current US travel restrictions. They’ve had to make do with video calls with their China colleagues to direct them online on iPhone prototype assembly. Furthermore, Apple is also allowing engineers to take prototypes home – something that was always restricted to prevent leaks.
A new WSJ report claims that Apple is struggling to stay on its production process schedule at the moment. A former employee claims that the components and camera module orders for the next-gen iPhone modelss are typically placed in March and April, so that assembly begins in the summer months. However due to lockdown restrictions, the production development process has gotten complicated. To ensure that there is no product delay, Apple is hosting video call conferences with its China employees, and is even allowing engineers to take home prototypes of unreleased products. Even though the China supply chain has opened up, US travel lockdowns are making things complex. The report also says that Apple is “using video calls to direct Chinese colleagues through iPhone prototype assembly.”
Mehdi Hosseini, analyst with Susquehanna International Group, reportedly expects Apple to have component suppliers continue making iPhone parts as planned while it reassesses demand in May or June. The economic impact of this pandemic may force users to check on spends, resulting in low demand for Apple’s flagship product this fall. However, Apple is still taking the ‘wait and watch’ approach to the pandemic, before making any big decisions for its fall launches. Mehdi says that extra modems or unsold 5G iPhones could cut into the rich profit margins, and Apple may take some hard decisions to prevent deeper profit cut.