Apple could be about to cut ties with a problematic iPhone memory chip supplier

iPhone 14 torn down
(Image credit: iFixit)

Apple's plans to bring Chinese memory chip outfit YMTC on board have been paused, according to a new report. The chips were originally expected to be used in future iPhones that would be sold in the Chinese market.

The report notes that new U.S. export controls imposed on Chinese tech companies means that Apple has now decided to take another look at the deal, despite the company having spent months getting the deal off the ground.

The chips are down

The report coming out of Nikkei Asia has Apple putting plans on hold after the new controls mean it would not be able to work with Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC) without a license. Apple reportedly spent months getting the memory certified, but YMTC has now been added to a list of Chinese companies that are "unverified," meaning officials have not been able to inspect them.

The list includes outfits that companies like Apple are no longer able to share specific information with. The report says that this is a sign that "Washington's crackdown is creating a chilling effect down the supply chain, with Apple now left in a difficult position.

This news comes just days after analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlines Apple's plans to change its supply chain in ways that would reduce its reliance on China. Apple's long-term goal is reportedly to have devices sold within China be built there, whereas everything else will be built internationally. Notably, the memory chips Apple intended on buying from YMTC were only destined for iPhones sold in China.

Apple has been struggling with ongoing manufacturing issues since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks in part to ongoing lockdowns in the country — something that has hastened the need for international supply chain cover.

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.