The availability of Apple products is reported to be improving, indicating that Apple supply chain partners in China are seeing production return to normal output, following a lengthy shutdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus shutdown.
Loup Ventures’ Gene Munster, whose firm has been tracking availability since mid-February, says the lead times of four key Apple products – the 64GB iPhone 11, 64GB iPhone 11 Pro, AirPods Pro, and the second-generation AirPods – as measured across 13 countries has significantly improved over the past two weeks.
Munster says iPhone availability is now at an average of two days, down from a March 4 peak of 6.7 days. AirPod availability is down to an average of 7.4 days compared to 10.6 days on March 4.
Munster says that while he is unable to directly link the availability improvements to increased supply, he believes the shortened lead times can be attributed to Chinese production lines restarting. Softening of demand could account for a “minority” of the increase in available stock, says Munster.
“In the case of the supply of Apple products over the past month, the key variable was the closure of manufacturing and assembly in China,” Munster writes. “In the days following Apple’s announcement that the March quarter would be below expectations on February 17, we saw lead times extend. In the days following reports of the restart of manufacturing in China, we’ve seen lead times to improve.”
Like much of China, Apple suppliers in the country took a hit in February as the coronavirus forced plant shutdowns during the Chinese New Year holiday. Foxconn shuttered production in January, telling workers to stay at home. The Apple assembly partner’s production returned to normal operating status on March 12, weeks ahead of schedule.
Apple has worked to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, closing all retail stores outside of Greater China, in a bid to minimize the spread of the virus. The Cupertino firm also changed the way it will hold its Worldwide Developers Conference in the wake of the pandemic, announcing that WWDC 2020 would be an online-only event.