The rumored iPhone 13 shortages seem very likely after Apple’s Q4 2021 earnings call, during which CEO Tim Cook stated that supply of Apple products would struggle to meet demand due to continued supply chain issues.
Cook clarified that the supply chain was constricted in two big (simplified) ways: the global chip shortages and manufacturing issues in Southeast Asia. He stated that the latter had improved in September and October, stating the company was “in a materially better position today.” That will make the chip shortage the big bottleneck for getting Apple products to consumers in November and December during the company’s Q1 2022 – which is typically its biggest revenue period.
Were it not for these issues, Apple would have made $6 billion in additional revenue in Q4 2021, executives explained on the earnings call – and though they wouldn’t give guidance for how much of a revenue shortfall they expected in Q1 2022, they did explain that they still expected year-over-year sales growth for every product they sell except the iPad.
In short, the company will still sell a lot of iPhones and MacBook Pros and other Apple products in the coming months – because of continued sales growth, the company has produced more units overall – but that supply may be scarcer for hotly-demanded products like the iPhone 13. When asked what the channel inventory for iPhones was like at the end of Q4 2021 (aka how many were available to retailers), Cook avoided any specifics, only saying the iPhone category “ended below targeted range for the quarter and is currently below it.”