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Nintendo’s Switch supply shortage might be all Apple’s fault

Published May 30th, 2017 8:00PM EDT
Switch Console and iPhone 8 Parts
Image: Nintendo

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Nintendo would make a lot more Switch consoles than it initially planned, but the Japanese company ran into an unexpected problem: Apple. No, seriously.

The Switch doesn’t technically compete against any Apple product. The console does look like a tablet but has no tablet functionality yet. It’s only meant to play games. But just because it doesn’t do what a large smartphone or tablet can do aside from games, doesn’t mean the Switch doesn’t need the same components.

The Wall Street Journal says that Nintendo is having trouble getting enough supplies for the Switch. Apple is gobbling a lot of parts for the iPhone, iPad, and other products that would also fit the Switch console.

The report says that continued demand for the iPhone 7, and the incoming iPhone 8 are keeping parts makers at full capacity.

Data centers are also putting pressure on Nintendo, as they require the same fast NAND flash storage.

Nintendo can’t afford to pay more for components including NAND memory or LCD screens than data centers, and it can’t order more components than Apple does.

The company could try to outbid rivals, but that may mean it’d have to manufacture the Switch at a loss.

The Journal says that Nintendo is now expecting to sell up to 20 million Nintendo units by the end of March 2018, or twice the initial forecast. However, that’s not an official number, and Nintendo might not reach it if it can’t get the components it needs.

The report does note that Nintendo might make use of air cargo to deliver Switch units to the US in time for the busy holiday season, a costly shipping method it used after it launched the console.

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.