Production of Apple's iPhone 13 Camera Components are at a Crawl in Vietnam due to a new Wave of COVID-19 hitting plants
Those wanting to purchase the new iPhone 13 are facing longer-than-expected delivery times due to a new COVID-19 wave that has hit Vietnamese production plants where Apple's new cameras are assembled, according to a new Nikkei Asia report.
Supply chain sources had expected this year's rollout of new iPhones to be relatively smooth, given that most changes to the updated devices are only incremental and Apple has been able to stockpile many key components.
However, Apple has expanded the use of its new sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS) to all four iPhone models when previously it was only in the premium iPhone 12 Pro Max. This has put suppliers in the position of having to ramp up production without jeopardizing production quality, against the backdrop of severe restrictions due to COVID-19.
Sensor-shift OIS stabilizes sensors on the camera to make images smoother and video steadier even if users are in motion, and it is an improvement on previous technology that stabilized camera lenses.
"Assemblers can still produce the new iPhones, but there's a supply gap [in] that the inventories of the camera modules are running low," one of the executives with direct knowledge told Nikkei Asia. "There's nothing we can do but to monitor the situation in Vietnam every day and wait for them to ramp up the output."
The situation may improve by mid-October as production at one of the key iPhone camera module manufacturing facilities in southern Vietnam has gradually resumed in recent days after several months of on-and-off disruption.
Like other companies, Apple has been wrestling with unprecedented chip and component shortages for the whole year that have held back its revenues. It has diverted some chips meant for its new iPads for use in the iPhone 13 series, which has also led to longer-than-expected delivery times for the new iPad and iPad mini, one of the people with direct knowledge said. Apple has limited consumers in China to a maximum of two iPad purchases for the newly launched models, its website showed, a sign that these supplies are also constrained.
Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, stated on Saturday that the government aims to bring the country back to something resembling normal by the end of this month. For more on this, read the full Nikkei Asia report.