- Apple’s wildly popular wireless headphones, Apple AirPods, are facing shortages.
- Manufacturing has become increasingly difficult as China, where the headphones are made, deals with the brunt of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
- Apple ordered over 45 million new AirPods from Chinese manufacturers, Nikkei reported on Thursday, but that order cannot be met as parts of the supply chain shut down due to the virus outbreak.
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As of Wednesday, the Wuhan coronavirus had infected more than 28,000 people, and killed over 560. Just two of those deaths were outside of mainland China.
Though the virus has reached several other countries, China has felt the impact more than anywhere else — cities with millions of residents have been quarantined, and the country’s manufacturing sector has ground to a halt.
Even Apple, which manufactures the vast majority of its products with contract manufacturers in China, is beginning to feel the impact: Upwards of 45 million AirPods that Apple has ordered from the factories are stuck in limbo, according to a report on Thursday in Nikkei.
Even before the virus outbreak, Apple was struggling to keep up with demand for its new, more expensive AirPods Pro model.
In January, Apple CEO Tim was asked by analysts when the company would catch up to demand for the newest AirPods. “I just can’t predict when at this point,” Cook said. “We seem to be fairly substantially off there, and we’re working very hard to put in additional capacity.”
But now it looks like Apple could struggle to meet demand for its standard AirPods as well.
Even as AirPods manufacturing facilities re-open, Nikkei reports, they are reportedly still missing the components needed to put together the headphones. Those facilities are said to have “at most two weeks’ worth of materials and components” necessary.
Apple has yet to comment on the report, and didn’t respond to a request for a statement as of publishing.