Apple may be working on the most exciting iPhone in years, but the company has had a rough start to 2020. Having already made one high profile warning impacting shareholders, now the company has made another which will impact millions of iPhone users.
Forbes Gordon Kelly
In a new exclusive, Bloomberg’s always excellent Mark Gurman has discovered that Apple has sent out a memo warning staff at Apple stores worldwide about stock shortages of replacement iPhones. And the impact will be felt by anyone who breaks their iPhone.
03/07 Update: The New York Post reports the impact from Apple’s warning is now starting to take hold for stores and carriers. In New York, store employees told the paper that “Wireless retailers around the city have either run out of stock or are running low on iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models as carriers stockpile them at nearby warehouses”. Speaking to numerous retail locations around Manhattan, The Post also states it was “uniformly told the same story of low stock and infrequent shipments, with little guidance as to when things might get back to normal.” AT&T, Sprint and Verizon staff all cited shortages as well with one Verizon employee saying “It’s a Verizon-wide issue.” With stock of iPhones usually highest in the US, expect similar shortages around the world. In the meantime, you might want to buy a thicker case for your iPhone.
“The company recently told technical support staff at stores that replacement iPhones for heavily damaged devices will be in short supply for as long as two to four weeks, according to Apple Store employees,” states Gurman. “Some Apple stores have also noticed a shortage of individual parts, according to the employees, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.”
Apple chose not to name the cause of the stock shortages but given it already issued a warning in February that the Coronavirus has impacted “worldwide iPhone supply” to the extent that it will “affect revenues worldwide” and see the company miss its Q2 2020 revenue guidance, it isn’t hard to guess.
Gurman states that Apple staff have been told to tell customers that their replacement iPhones can be mailed to them and, if possible, the store will issue loaner devices.
While far from Apple’s fault, the revelation that Apple is struggling to produce enough iPhones to replace damaged models under warranty places serious question marks over its ability to launch the new budget iPhone 9 this month. Earlier today, acclaimed Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo said he believed that iPhone production would be hit hard enough that it will impact Apple’s Q2 earnings as well. While Nikkei believes the launch of the iPhone 12 could even be delayed.
All of which couldn’t have come at a worst time for Apple. The iPhone 9 is shaping up to be the power-packed mini iPhone many users have wanted for years, while leaks have revealed the iPhone 12 will be a major step forward. Highlights of this upcoming flagship include a long-range 3D camera, new high refresh rate displays using Samsung’s next-gen OLED panels, both larger and smaller screen sizes, a brutally fast A14 chipset, 5G with Apple-designed antennas and even a potential return for fingerprint recognition alongside Face ID thanks to in-display Touch ID.
Topping it all off, Apple looks set to undercut rivals with more affordable price points meaning the only headache is when you’ll actually be able to buy one. In the meantime, whatever you do, don’t drop your current iPhone.
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