It doesn’t look like the global shortage of semiconductors will end any time soon, spelling further difficulty for car manufacturers and the consumer electronics industry.
In the early phases of the component shortage, Apple largely
escaped unscathed even as rivals such as Samsung suffered, thanks in part to the long-term contracts and careful planning in Apple’s supply chain. Some analysts even argued that the situation might work out to the Cupertino company’s benefit, giving it the opportunity to
renegotiate its contracts with suppliers and lower prices.
More recently we’ve reported that this long run of luck seemed to have run out, with iPad and MacBook shipments
likely to be delayed. But we may have spoken too soon.
Because it’s emerged that Apple will be given priority treatment by its supplier TSMC in getting deliveries of chips, according to
DigiTimes and based on “sources at fabless chipmakers”. The car industry, which has been hit hard by the shortage, will also be prioritised; PC, server and networking chip orders will be given lower priority.
The special treatment applies to Q3 of 2021, a critical time of year for Apple as it rolls out its
new iPhone for the year. It’s unclear if TSMC will return to a more egalitarian approach after this, or if Apple will continue to exert its vast market clout to secure more preferential treatment.
TSMC is Apple’s only manufacturer of the A-series chips that are in iPhone and iPad models, as well as the M-series chips that are in some Macs and in the latest-generation models of iPad Pro.
This article originally appeared on
Macworld Sweden. Translation and additional reporting by David Price.