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Apple can't make iPads quickly enough to cope with a surge of Chinese demand thanks to people staying home thanks to coronavirus

12.9-inch iPad Pro
12.9-inch iPad Pro (Image credit: 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.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.