Although it has certainly tried every possible tactic to get priority treatment from component suppliers, Apple has only partially succeeded in securing its essential semiconductor stocks, with easily noticeable effects on iPhone stocks in stores.
Already felt by Apple fans, overcoming the acute stage of the semiconductor crisis is already confirmed by the partner Foxconn, the main manufacturer of Apple phones. According to the company, the first quarter of 2022 is marked by major improvements in immediately available component stocks. At the same time, supply chain constraints have a general upward trend, which could continue into the second half of the year.
A key role in the production of the iPhone is played by TSMC, the chipset supplier already confirming that there are no anticipated delays with the delivery of orders already requested by Apple. However, the US company also relies on other providers for essential circuit components such as power management and wireless connectivity.
Aiming to prevent these problems in the future, Foxconn and TSMC are already planning increased inventories of general purpose semiconductors (eg power circuits and wireless communications that are not reviewed every year), ready for use in an emergency.
The same opinion is likely that there are other manufacturers that need to include various electronic systems in the finished product, such as the automotive industry, for which the lack of relatively common chips has shut down entire assembly lines, causing losses of many billions of dollars. .
While the lack of long-term supply for essential components seems to have been the pretext for the global semiconductor crisis, in reality, the problem is one that is more related to the excessive globalization of operations in various sectors of industry. Driven by the acute need to reduce costs, in order to remain competitive among other players in the industry, which deliver either cars, coffee makers, or smartphones at prices that barely cover manufacturing and research costs, globalization has created an unhealthy dependency between differentiated economic entities. chosen according to the criterion of specialization on a certain type of product, which cannot be delivered at comparable costs from any other region of the world. Inevitably, any disruption with sufficiently broad ramifications, such as a natural disaster, pandemic, or war that blocks the activity of a major economic factor in the gears of globalization (eg Taiwan, with TSMC as the world’s semiconductor supplier), leads to chain effects that spread and reverberate globally.
Despite the semiconductor crisis, Apple has reported record revenue for 2021
Although supply chain constraints were high, in reality the problems with the availability of certain products (eg iPhone 13) were caused by the exceptionally high demand for them, the lack of stocks in stores is actually a false problem, given the inability of Apple suppliers to manufacture enough products to keep stocks occupied. A similar situation can be found in the camp of the giant NVIDIA, a company that has enjoyed rapid growth in the last year, even while most traditional consumers felt a sharp sense of frustration, while the coveted graphics accelerators were missing from stores , or appeared with very inflated prices. In this case, the semiconductor crisis has been replaced by one caused by the unsustainable demand from cryptocurrency miners.
At the end of fiscal year 2021, Apple released a record-breaking bulletin of $ 123.9 billion in total revenue and a net profit of $ 34.6 billion, to the liking of shareholders and less felt by ordinary consumers.