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iPhone 13 stock might improve at the expense of the iPad

Published Nov 2nd, 2021 7:31AM EDT
iPhone 13 Stock
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Several iPhone 13 models sold out immediately after preorders started. Shipping estimates started slipping by days and then weeks on Apple’s online store, although retail stores had stock on release date. However, delivery estimates continue to be higher than expected, indicating a massive demand for the new iPhone models. Apple has been reducing lead times in various markets, but buyers who order an iPhone 13 flavor still have to wait at least a week for the shipment. iPhone 13 Pro variants can take more than a month in some markets.

While your iPhone 13 might soon ship to your door, the new iPad and iPad mini might take even longer. And that’s because Apple is prioritizing iPhone 13 production over the iPad. That includes shifting parts from the iPad to the iPhone to ensure it can produce as many units as possible.

iPhone 13 stock should improve

During its latest earnings call a few days ago, Apple said that revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 was $6 billion lower. The silicon shortage and the COVID-related manufacturing disruptions impacted Apple’s bottom line. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the impact for the current quarter could be even larger.

The Christmas quarter is typically Apple’s best quarter. It’s the first full quarter of new iPhone sales, and the iPhone 13 should be the best-selling Apple product in the October-December quarter. That’s why Apple is looking to ensure it has enough supply to go around. It’s not just component shortages that will impact iPhone deliveries but also shipping delays.

According to Nikkei Asia, Apple has cut iPad production “sharply” to move components to the iPhone 13. Parts for older iPhones also moved to the iPhone 13 production lines.

iPad production was down 50% for the past two months from Apple’s initial plans. Apple can switch components like the high-end A-series chip between iPad and iPhone. The iPad mini and iPhone 13 series share the same A15 Bionic SoC. The same goes for other chips. Reports said Apple ensured it has enough A15 Bionic stock on hand this year. But the chip shortage impacts other silicon in the iPhone that Apple can’t control.

iPad Mini, iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro
Apple’s 2021 iPad lineup from small to large: iPad Mini, iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. Image source: Apple Inc.

Order your new iPad mini as early as possible

Apple advised buyers earlier this week to place their holiday orders early, extending the return window through January 8th for goods purchased between November 1st and December 25th.

Nikkei’s report indicates that iPad wait times have increased significantly, further proof that Apple is prioritizing iPhone 13 production. The report notes that buyers who purchased an iPad with 256GB of storage at the end of October have to wait until December 15th for it. The iPad mini 6 will ship in the first week of December. This is valid for the US and parts of Europe. In China, iPad buyers have to wait up to six weeks for a new iPad.

Counterpoint Research analyst Brady Wang explained that the reason Apple is sacrificing iPad sales to boost the iPhone 13 stock is quite simple. The iPhone enjoys strong sales during this quarter, but it also faces plenty of competition.

“Fewer users will turn to Android tablets if they are considering buying an Apple iPad but need to wait a bit longer,” he said. “However, there could be a possibility that people could turn to … Android phones if they could not immediately buy an iPhone.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.