The effects that COVID-19 has had on both the global populous and global economy have been unprecedented. In the United States alone, the height of the pandemic brought with it food and basic essential shortages. However, close to two years after initial lockdowns, the global supply chain system has yet to recover and every sector of it is feeling its relentless effects. Kellogg’s Cereal production has nearly halted after over-worked employees went on strike, and retailers around the globe are warning holiday shoppers to get started early because of how limited access to supplies is at present. Even, the seemingly all-powerful tech giant Apple is struggling to meet product demand for its new iPhone 13 and might be forced to cut the smartphone’s production by 10 million units.
News that Apple will likely need to cut its production came after Bloomberg reported that Apple’s main suppliers for the chip components within the iPhone 13, Broadcom and Texas Instruments, were unable to completely fulfill purchase orders for the necessary parts. The Guardian pointed out that those companies’ inability to deliver components “…is the latest sign of serious bottlenecking affecting global trade.”
Apple’s initial production projections for the iPhone 13 were estimated to be about 90 million units. However, The Guardian detailed further that when their top shareholders were notified that supply chain disruptions had stunted their ability to produce their expected number of units, the tech giant’s stock price took an immediate 1.2 percent hit. This serves as an example that even one of the world’s leading and most influential technology companies is not immune to the economic pressures that COVID-19 has caused.
Even though Apple’s stock has taken a small hit in the short term, the company has been aware of the impending shortages for quite some time. According to Time, they reported at the end of the 3rd quarter that they knew they were going to have trouble fulfilling orders for the iPhone 13, as well as other recently refreshed products like the iPad. In fact, Time further pointed out that even though their new family of iPhone 13s were announced at their last Keynote in September for an October delivery, Apple has had to push many orders back for a November fulfillment instead.
Due to the forecasted shortages, many a consumer looking to purchase an iPhone 13 may not be able to obtain one at all, however, even if an individual is able to get their hands on an iPhone 13 they may be subjected to largely inflated scalper prices. According to the New York Times, the Consumer Price index, in the past few months alone, has risen at a rapidly frightening rate. From September of 2020 to September of 2021 the index rose a stark 5.4 percent. Such a drastic rate of increase has not been seen since the height of the 2008 recession. This data shows that not only will people have trouble attaining a range of products, but that the costs of those products will be exponentially higher. In the United States, this is particularly disconcerting because of how finically strained much of the population continues to be. Thus iPhone 13 shortages, while unfortunate for some, are really just a symptom of a larger and far-more worrisome crisis that is just beginning to brew.