Apple's supply chain might improve as China recovers from the coronavirus (opens in new tab)pandemic, but Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reported yesterday that it probably won't return to normal any time soon because its suppliers in other countries are still contending with the virus.
COVID-19 was first spotted in the Hubei province. China eventually ordered factories to close (opens in new tab), quarantined entire cities and placed strict travel restrictions on its citizens. Those efforts disrupted Apple's supply chain (opens in new tab)--many of its products are made in China--but they also helped contain the viral outbreak within the country.
China said that none of the confirmed (opens in new tab) COVID-19 cases from March 18 and 19 originated locally; they were brought in by people returning from other countries.
Now the Chinese government has started to ease restrictions on its citizens (opens in new tab), which means production should improve as factories work to resume their normal output.
But that doesn't mean the coronavirus (opens in new tab)outbreak is done affecting the supply chains of Apple and other companies. Bloomberg said that a two-week lockdown in Malaysia will also result in supply constraints because Murata Manufacturing, Renesas Electronics, Ibiden, Micron, Texas Instruments and other companies have factories there.
Those closures are expected to affect Apple's supply of chips, circuit boards and memory. Bloomberg also noted that Apple has "suppliers and operations" in the U.S., Italy, Germany, U.K., South Korea, Israel and other countries. COVID-19 could affect the company's research and development as well as its product supply.
That might seem odd, given that Apple updated the MacBook Air (opens in new tab) and iPad Pro (opens in new tab) on Wednesday, but Bloomberg it's likely Apple assembled those products in January. Other products--such as the Magic Keyboard that was announced Wednesday but won't debut until May--could be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.