Apple has already been struggling to meet demand for their popular AirPods and AirPods Pro wireless earbuds, and now their production could be in jeopardy by the coronavirus outbreak in China.
Nikkei reports Apple’s major AirPods suppliers Luxshare-ICT, Goertek, and Inventec have been shut down since the beginning of the Lunar New Year, Although production should begin again next Monday, components may be in short supply, as component factories in China have also been shuttered due to virus fears.
AirPods manufacturers reportedly have “at most” two weeks’ worth of materials on-hand for AirPods assembly. Fresh supplies won’t be available until component makers can get back in gear.
A source told Nikkei that it’s unclear if parts suppliers in China will be able to “smoothly resume work” to create enough parts for assembly. “We really have to wait and see how things play out next week. If the assemblers could not get enough supply of parts in two weeks, it will be a big problem,” said the source.
Travel restrictions in certain regions of China could also create labor shortages at factories as companies are balancing restarting production while also dealing with fears of employees bringing the virus back into the factory. For example, Apple assembly partner Foxconn has already announced that workers returning from the Henan province will be quarantined for two weeks, while other staff will be sequestered for one week.