Factory workers in ChinaSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Availability of the iPhone 11 and AirPods are beginning to improve.
  • A report shows that ship times have been cut by more than half in some cases.
  • The improvement is attributed to Chinese production ramping back up.

One of the impacted areas of Apple's business during the coronavirus pandemic has been its supply chain, as manufacturers in China were sending employees home to protect against the spread of the virus. Now, it looks like at least some of Apple's products are becoming more readily available as employees return to work and production begins to ramp up again.

According to a new report by Loup Ventures' Gene Munster, Apple's iPhone and AirPods are seeing improved availibility. Specifically, the report tracked the availability of the 64GB iPhone 11, 64GB iPhone 11 Pro, AirPods Pro and the second-generation AirPods. The report states that, after looking at supply across thirteen countries, availability has significantly improved over the last two weeks.

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The iPhone, which was running at a 6.7 delay on March 4th, is now down to an average of two days to ship. AirPods are also seeing a marked improval. Ship times on the headphones are now down to 7.4 days compared to 10.6 days on when it was last measured on March 4th.

Munster attributes most of the improvement to a ramp up in Chinese production as workers begin to return to their jobs. He does note that there is a current softening of demand, but believes that only plays a small part in the availability of the devices.

"In the case of the supply of Apple products over the past month, the key variable was the closure of manufacturing and assembly in China ... In the days following Apple's announcement that the March quarter would be below expectations on February 17, we saw lead times extend. In the days following reports of the restart of manufacturing in China, we've seen lead times to improve."

Apple has recently shuttered all of its retail stores outside of greater China and opted to hold its Worldwide Developer Conference completely online in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, so this improvement is helpful for a company that is going to be fulfilling orders completely online for the near future.