AirPods and AirPods Pro Manufacturing Could Be Impacted by Coronavirus, Leading to Greater Supply Shortages

Apple has been working to ramp up production of the ever-popular AirPods and AirPods Pro, and its efforts to meet supply/demand balance could be in jeopardy due to the coronavirus outbreak in China.

According to Nikkei, Apple's major AirPods suppliers Luxshare-ICT, Goertek, and Inventec have been shut down since the beginning of the Lunar New Year and even when work on AirPods resumes next Monday, components could be in short supply because factories all across China have been shuttered due to virus fears.

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The AirPods manufacturers have "at most" two weeks worth of materials and components needed for AirPods assembly, and for fresh supplies, they will need to wait for component makers in China to restart operations. Given current conditions, product utilization rates could reach just 50 percent when work on the AirPods resumes.

A person who spoke to Nikkei says 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 from certain regions in China are likely to create labor shortages at factories, and companies are balancing restarting production while also dealing with fears an employee could bring the virus back to the factory. Foxconn, for example, has already said that workers returning from the Henan province will be sequestered for two weeks, while other staff will be isolated for a week.

Apple was aiming to produce up to 45 million AirPods units in the first half of 2020, but the current AirPods stock is running low and is reserved for Apple's stores. Right now, the regular AirPods remain in stock, but the ‌AirPods Pro‌ are still backordered, as they have been since launch.

Related Roundups: AirPods 3, AirPods Pro
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

Kebabselector Avatar
56 months ago
I'd like some AirPods pro's - But I can wait as I value lives over my short-term needs.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
donlab Avatar
56 months ago
Every Airpod Pro post has me thinking the new FW update is out.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gazwas Avatar
56 months ago
People are dying and here we worry about the inconvenience of waiting extended periods for AirPods.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lyngo Avatar
56 months ago

I'd like some AirPods pro's - But I can wait as I value lives over my short-term needs.
This is all about keeping things in proper perspective. Thank you for being a voice of common sense in a world that seems to be ongoing chaos. Well said.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Blackstick Avatar
56 months ago
My brother and I manufacture scientific toys in China, albeit on a microscopic scale compared to Apple's AirPod volume... but our factory is 1500km away from Wuhan, and has been shuttered for 2 weeks - the local post offices are closed there. By all accounts, it's far worse on the ground than what we're getting from the media.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
56 months ago

I'd like some AirPods pro's - But I can wait as I value lives over my short-term needs.
You can simultaneously have concern for coronavirus issues and business logistic issues.

This is all about keeping things in proper perspective. Thank you for being a voice of common sense in a world that seems to be ongoing chaos. Well said.
That's not well said at all imo. It's binary thinking. It's entirely possible to care about more than one thing. It's entirely possible to care about, and be aware of more than one aspect of the same thing. The coronavirus affects more than just individual lives. It also affects different aspects of how we live. Acknowledging one aspect does not diminish others.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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