Coronavirus is increasing demand for iPads as students, workers stay home

Foxconn (Image credit: Bloomberg)

What you need to know

  • Coronavirus continues to impact production.
  • But demand for iPads is higher than usual.
  • That's because people are staying home instead of going into the office or school.

While coronavirus continues to impact the production of devices across China, there does seem to be an unexpected consequence of people being told to stay home from work and school. The demand for iPads is higher than normal for this time of year, according to a DigiTimes report.

It isn't clear exactly which iPads are proving popular among buyers, but it's likely Apple's entry-level 10.2-inch iPad is selling particularly well given its low price. However, with demand so high some retailers are increasing their prices so they can take advantage, making that entry-level iPad more costly.

E-commerce platforms are now the main conduit for consumers to buy tablets as most physical stores can hardly resume normal operations, but as tablets have sold out on many of these online shopping platforms, their prices have also gone up.The platforms now sell 32GB and 128GB 10.2-inch iPad devices at CNY2,499 (US$355.5) and CNY3,099 per unit, respectively, CNY200 and CNY100 higher than offered at Apple stores for corresponding models.

Shortages of iPads are likely to become more and more likely as demand grows and Apple's ability to produce them continues to be hampered. DigiTimes notes that manufacturing capacity is currently at 50% of capacity at best. Factories simply haven't been able to ramp up production as quickly as first hoped.

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.