Report: Coronavirus Will Continue to Limit Apple's Supply Chain as China Recovers

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Apple's supply chain might improve as China recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, but Bloomberg 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, quarantined entire cities and placed strict travel restrictions on its citizens. Those efforts disrupted Apple's supply chain--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 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, which means production should improve as factories work to resume their normal output.

But that doesn't mean the coronavirus 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 and iPad Pro 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. 

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.