Apple said it may not be able to keep up with demand for some of its devices owing to the international chip shortage. The company warned that some of its stores could run out of iPads and Macs.
Apple's chief financial officer Luca Maestri said late Thursday the global shortage of semiconductors might cut into sales of some of its products. Maestri estimates that the chip shortage, which is already disrupting motor vehicle production, could cut its sales by between $3 billion to $4 billion over the next three months.
Apple expected sales growth in its current quarter. Apple made the announcement about the possible shortage just a week after it introduced new models of its popular iPad tablets and Mac computers.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook also addressed the issue and responded to questions regarding when he thinks the supply shortage would be over.
"We would need to know the true demand from each of these players and how that's going to change over the next few months. And so it's very, very difficult to give you a good answer. We will do our best. That's what I can tell you," Cook said.
The semiconductor shortage has already affected the production capacities of the world's largest automakers - from Ford to Volkswagen. Computer ship demand rose during the pandemic as users bought more electronic devices for both work and entertainment.
In its latest earnings report this week, Apple acknowledged that lockdowns had been a boon to its business. Sales of the company's tablets, smartphones, laptops and other devices experienced double-digit growth over the past quarters.
The rise in demand for electronics coupled with the forced shutdown of chip manufacturing facilities worldwide last year crippled supply chains. The unexpected rapid recovery of new car sales also contributed to the supply shortage.
Ford said in its latest earnings call that it expects a reduction in its output of more than 1 million vehicles due to the chip shortage. Ford said the reduced output would result in some $2.5 billion in forfeited profits.