12.9-inch iPad ProSource: Joseph Keller/iMore

What you need to know

  • More and more people are working from home in China.
  • Schools are telling students to learn from home, too.
  • That's caused a surge in iPad orders and Apple can't keep up.

The ongoing Coronavirus situation in China is at a point where people are being told to work from home. Schools have also told students to stay at home in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. That's caused an increase in iPad demand, and Apple isn't able to keep up.

In fact, Apple's cheapest iPads are currently out of stock at Apple's online store with delivery not expected for up to four weeks from the time of order. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Apple has already upped its orders to try and keep pace with demand.

Demand had been rising strongly since January when Beijing began insisting on quarantine in response to the coronavirus outbreak, sources have told the Nikkei Asian Review. One source with direct knowledge of the matter said Apple recently ordered a 20% increase in production of the latest version of the iPad for the first half of this year, compared with the production forecast the company gave to its suppliers in January before the outbreak.

Part of the issue is that workers are in short supply, impacting Apple's supply partners and in turn preventing them from making enough iPads.

Apple's iPad production in China is spread across various locations including Chongqing, Chengdu in Sichuan Province, Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, and Shenzhen in Guangdong Province. All those plants are struggling to find enough production line workers to meet demand, another person familiar with the situation said.

This is all likely something that will be rectified in the long term, but right now it's causing severe stock constraints with iPads out of stock just about everywhere. Huawei's tablets are still available, though.