COVID disrupts Apple supply plans for new AirPods, says report

Iphone Factory China
Iphone Factory China (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • COVID continues to disrupt Apple's supply chain plans.
  • A new report says it has opted to start production of new upcoming AirPods in China.
  • Apple is also waiting to move some MacBook and iPad production to Vietnam.

A new report says that COVID surges continue to disrupt Apple's supply chain plans, including the production of its rumored upcoming AirPods 3.

Nikkei Asia reports:

Apple, meanwhile, will start mass-producing its latest AirPods earphones in China instead of in Vietnam as previously planned, two people familiar with the situation said. The company still hopes to move around 20% of new AirPods production to Vietnam later, they said.

This is the second such report stating that Apple has opted to make its new AirPods in China because of COVID. Furthermore, Nikkei says COVID has put on hold Apple's plans to move MacBook and iPad production too:

Apple's plan to bring some MacBook and iPad production to Vietnam has also been put on hold due to a lack of engineering resources, an incomplete notebook computer supply chain and the dynamic COVID situation, one of the people said.

Recent reports indicate Apple's next-generation of AirPods are due this year and promise to be a huge upgrade on the previous model:

Apple is roundly expected to have newly refreshed AirPods ready to go, but it hasn't actually announced anything. That's set to change before the end of the year if previous reports are any indication — and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has once again reiterated that fact.Writing in his weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that we should expect a "significant update" this time around — something that has been missing since AirPods first arrived back in 2016.Expect new entry-level AirPods with a design closer to the AirPods Pro, including a new in-ear shape and shorter stems. These will be the first update to the entry-level AirPods since March 2019 and the most significant update to that part of Apple's AirPods line since the first model debuted in 2016.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9