AirPods, Apple Watch, and Mac flops have Apple slashing orders, insiders say

Apple Watch series 8
(Image credit: Future / iMore)

Apple has reportedly told its parts suppliers to cut back on deliveries because of lower-than-expected demand for AirPods, Apple Watches, and MacBooks.

Supply chain sources claim that Apple has told suppliers to build fewer components because it doesn't need them, with one source telling Nikkei Asia that the order came from Apple in the quarter ending in December 2022. "Apple has alerted us to lower orders for almost all product lines," they said.

Apple isn't the only company that has revised its orders, however. One executive at an electronic component maker that supplies Apple, Samsung, and Chinese smartphone makers is quoted as saying that the situation is "very chaotic," adding that COVID-19 restrictions and their recent removal are also impacting orders. Companies are said to be struggling for workers, while others are apparently "resigned to catching the virus."

Demand declines

Apple has been struggling with supply chain issues ever since COVID-19 took the world by storm in early 2020, but recent lockdowns at a key Chinese Foxconn plant meant that iPhone 14 Pro supply was crippled at a time when Apple should have been experiencing a strong holiday quarter. But with manufacturing now ramping up, the company is still reportedly keen to have parts makers cut their production.

Some analysts, including Ming-Chi Kuo, had previously warned that supply constraints could see customers skip the iPhone 14 lineup entirely, choosing to wait until next year to buy a new handset instead. Ongoing global economic uncertainty and inflation are both unlikely to have helped with iPhone sales in recent months.

While it isn't clear which models of AirPods, Apple Watches, or MacBooks are experiencing weaker demand than expected, we can make calculated guesses. Recent AirPods Pro 2, Apple Watch Series 8, and the M2 MacBook Air releases are likely some of those impacted.

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.