Good luck getting your Apple order shipped in due time

As the pandemic continues to strain supply chains the world over, the availability of Macs, iPads and other Apple devices is dwindling in retail stores.

The interior of Apple Wuhan, the company's first store in China's Hubei Province and its 54th retail location in Greater China, is shown in this press photo from Apple, featuring granite floors and wood walls which make the interior brighter and transparent
A new Apple Wuhan store brings a dedicated product pickup area | Image credit: Apple
  • Arm yourself with patience if you’d like to order a new MacBook Pro or iPad Air.
  • Some Mac and iPad models are delayed until at least several weeks.
  • Build-to-order upgrades such as extra RAM also introduce delays.
  • The delays currently only affect Apple’s own retail stores.

Apple products that are currently delayed for new orders

Apple’s ability to churn out devices and get them out the door is under pressure due to the worsening Covid-19 situation—the Chinese government has imposed another series of lockdown. Doing so has severely affected the country’s contract manufacturers. As a result, many popular Mac and iPad models are listed with a wait time of several weeks, with some orders unavailable until as far back as August.

Journalist Mark Gurman broke down the shipping delays on the Apple online store by product in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter on Bloomberg.

  • MacBook Pro: Deliveries and in-store pickup of both 14-inch and 16-inch models have been delayed until as late as early August.
  • MacBook Air: New orders were delayed as late as early June.
  • iMac: New orders delayed as late as early August.
  • Mac Studio: New delayed as late as the end of August.
  • Apple Studio Display: New orders delayed as late as August.
  • Apple Pro Display XDR: Deliveries as late as early August, with no in-store pickup availability.
  • Mac Pro: New orders delayed as late as June.
  • iPad Air: New orders delayed as late as the end of June.
  • iPad Pro: New orders delayed as late as June.

What about Apple’s online stores?

Those products are not only hard to find in Apple’s own brick-and-mortar stores but also in the company’s online store as well. Read: How to chat live with Apple Support on the web or your device

And Amazon?

Other retailers don’t seem to be affected. Amazon has these products in stock, but that’s because Amazon operates the world’s biggest warehouses. Places such as Best Buy, Adorama and B&H Photo also had the aforementioned products in stock.

So why won’t Apple simply produce more stuff?

With Apple, there’s no warehouse—just limited stock in each store. That’s because Apple since Steve Jobs’s return has been churning out products on demand. Contrast Apple’s approach with Amazon, which typically puts out a large order for a bunch of Apple products to keep in stock and ship to customers as soon as possible.

When will shipping times improve?

That’s the million-dollar question. Apple in particular has felt the negative effects of the health crisis (and other world problems) for some time now. And just when we thought we were finally winning in this battle, Covid cases are on the rise in areas of the US. At the Apple Park headquarters, for example, workers show up in-person just two days of the week. Apple has delayed its return-to-office plans several times already, and it recently mandated masking within stores for its own employees.

How Covid is disrupting Apple all over again

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Covid is disrupting Apple again. Therefore, shipping times probably won’t improve before the pandemic eases. Until then, Apple will find it continually challenging to ship orders on time. Perhaps that’s why Apple has notified several suppliers and contract manufacturers that it would like to expand manufacturing outside of China. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple would like to increase manufacturing in India and Vietnam which could be one way to avoid the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns in China which have delayed manufacturing.