Apple has reportedly warned its retail employees that replacement iPhones will be in short supply for the next month. According to Bloomberg, some stores have also experienced a shortage of particular individual parts for device repairs.
The report explains that Apple has informed technical support staff at retail stores that replacement iPhones will be in “short supply for as long as two to four weeks.” These are the iPhones that Apple gives customers when they bring in an iPhone that is unable to be repaired.
To combat this problem, Apple is telling technical support employees that they can mail replacement iPhones to affected customers and “provide loaner devices to ease delays.”
But in addition to constraints for the iPhones themselves, Apple is also experiencing supply shortages of individual iPhone parts. When possible, Apple replaces individual parts rather than entire iPhone units. This is especially common for screen repairs.
Bloomberg speculates that these shortages are a “sign the coronavirus outbreak is straining” Apple’s supply chain.
The dearth of iPhone repair parts is one of the first visible effects from the virus on Apple’s operations. The company has begun to see shortages for the iPad Pro, Bloomberg News reported recently, while the supply of the iPhone 11 has begun to slightly tighten internationally.
Just yesterday, it was reported that Apple has restricted employee travel to Italy and South Korea. It is also advising employees that they opt for virtual meetings whenever possible and is focusing on deep cleaning at retail stores. Apple is also temporarily closing some stores in Italy due to coronavirus concerns.