Electronic Supply Chain industry research from the Z2Data Team

Rise in Delays for Consumer Electronics

If Apple is affected, we're all affected.
Chase Correll
September 3, 2021

Apple is scheduled to release new miniLED-backlit MacBook Pros in October or even as late as November, instead of the typical September launch. New Apple smartphones are still scheduled to launch in September but will likely be launched without their laptop counterparts.

Sources indicate the delays for the MacBook Pros are likely linked to the ongoing component shortage. And to make matters worse, pandemic-induced delays in Malaysia have created more issues for Apple's MLCC supplies. The Malaysian passive component manufacturer Taiyo Yuden has suspended its production lines until September 10. The significance of this delay is that the suspended factory is Taiyo Yuden's primary MLCC supplier for Apple. While this delay is unlikely to affect 2021 rollouts for Apple, it could cause kinks in the tech giant's 2022 product schedule.

Not Only Apple

Of course, Apple isn't the only consumer tech company affected by the current chip shortages and supply chain disruptions. Samsung is also experiencing supply chain snags and potential product delays.

Due to rising Covid rates in Vietnam, Samsung's factory in Vietnam currently only operates at 30 to 40 percent of total capacity. The factory specializes in the production of Samsung's TV and home appliance products. Samsung does have a strategy, however, and that strategy involves on-site sleeping camps for its workers in adjacent spaces at schools and other nearby facilities secured by the company.

One industry official familiar with the sleeping arrangements warned about potential unrest among the workers, "This will inevitably leave workers in a tiring situation, given they will not be able to return home for almost another month."

The ongoing production delays are projected to affect Samsung's Black Friday sales, which is the United States' biggest shopping holiday in November.

You Know Who's to Blame

The bane of 2020 and 2021 continues to menace tech supply chains. And we all know that menace's name: Covid-19.

The renewed surge of the virus and its delta variant has created compounding supply-chain snags across Asia—and even across the globe. Asia, which accounts for nearly 42 percent of global exports, is set to have disruptions that will affect the winter holiday shopping season. Shipping costs are already at all-time highs, and a problem in an Asian port can slowly ripple out to other ports—spreading like a virus of its own.

China recently had to partially shut down a port that is the third busiest port in the world. On top of that, Southeast Asia has seen stagnated production of electronics and other commodities due to Covid-induced lockdowns and quarantines.

And don't forget semiconductors. CEOs from tech giants like Intel and TSMC appear to hold a consensus that the shortage is going nowhere. Intel's CEO Pat Gelsinger said the shortage should extend into 2023, which echoed TSMC's sentiments. Additionally, Pat Gelsinger has said that the shortage should be expected to get worse in the next six months before it gets any better.

Remember, these supply chain disruptions are slow-moving. A Malaysian factory shutdown right now might not see any supply chain effects until the middle of next year. The more you read about delays and suspension of production right now, the more supply chain disruptions you can expect down the road.

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