iPhone 13 production targets hit by chip shortages: report

Apple shares were down slightly – about 1% – Wednesday after media reports said it’s likely to slash iPhone 13 projection targets for 2021 due to chip shortages.

Apple will likely have to cut its 2021 iPhone 13 production goal by 10 million handsets because of extended chip shortages, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.

Apple’s iPhone production goal was 90 million for the last three months of the year, according to Bloomberg. The report also named Broadcom and Texas Instruments (TI) in particular as struggling with component shortages.

Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon either didn’t respond to requests for comment on their projected iPhone 13 supplies for this holiday season or referred inquiries to Apple and/or CTIA.

During its earnings call in July, Apple forecast that supply constraints during the September quarter would be greater than it experienced in the June quarter and would primarily affect iPhones and iPads. Reuters noted that Apple has weathered the supply crunch better than many other companies, leading some analysts to forecast that iPhone 13 models released in September would experience a strong sales year.

Apple not immune   

Strategy Analytics is forecasting 83 million iPhone 13 series devices will be shipped globally in the fourth quarter of 2021. Of that, 14 million will ship in the U.S. during the quarter, said Ken Hyers, director, Device Technologies at Strategy Analytics.

The firm reduced its estimates somewhat from several weeks ago as component supply shortages impact products and wait times grow, he told Fierce.

Hyers said it’s interesting to see that even Tim Cook’s Apple is suffering from the component shortages, as Cook is a master at supply chain management.  “But we’ve seen similar issues affecting Samsung and others; now we’re seeing that even Apple isn’t immune,” Hyers said. 

He added that the shortages coming from TI and Broadcom are interesting, in that he’s seen information indicating that camera components are impacting iPhone 13 production.  TI and Broadcom aren’t making those components, so it’s curious as to what parts they’re making that are in short supply.

“What I don’t think is happening is that we’re seeing a situation where Apple is manipulating things to create a perception of more demand than supply, as they are sometimes accused. The lack of components and inability to meet demand looks real,” he said.

RELATED: T-Mobile CFO blasts Samsung on device supply

In a rare occasion of a wireless executive calling out a specific supplier, T-Mobile CFO Peter Osvaldik last month singled out Samsung for falling short on the supply chain front. During a BoA Securities investor event, Osvaldik said Samsung “has really fallen behind the eight ball relative to other OEMs on the global supply chain issue.”

Samsung discontinued the Note device, which “many of our customers just loved,” he said, adding that the S-Series smartphones were in “very short supply.”