Apple Tells Customers to ‘Shop Early’ Amid Supply Chain Woes
If you’re looking to buy a new iPhone or MacBook this year, you might want to start shopping now. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company experienced “larger-than-expected supply constraints” last quarter. With limited supply and increasing demand, Apple is urging customers to order their devices soon to avoid longer shipping delays. Here’s everything you need to know about how the supply chain issues will affect you, and where you can find early deals on Apple devices.
Apple Loses Billions in Global Chip Shortage
During a quarterly earnings call last week, Cook told investors that Apple’s supply chain constraints have been “driven primarily by industrywide silicon shortages and COVID-related manufacturing disruptions.” And, while the CEO went on to say that the company has made “great progress” on the manufacturing disruptions, he added that the chip shortage is impacting “pretty much most of our products currently.”
In total, Cook estimates that Apple lost $6 billion in revenue due to supply constraints last quarter. And yet, the company still reported a 30% increase in product sales over last year, setting all-time records for Mac sales, as well as quarterly records for the iPhone, iPad, and several other devices.
During the conference call, Apple CFO Luca Maestri predicted the supply issues will get worse over the next quarter. But, at the same time, the company expects demand to continue to rise over the next quarter and hopes to set even more revenue records this holiday season.
With high demand on the one hand, and supply chain issues on the other, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Apple has now added a big red banner to the top of its online store, telling customers to “Shop early for the best selection of holiday favorites.”
When it comes to getting a device, you might have a hard time finding new iPhones in stock at your local Apple Store. You will probably only find the new MacBook Pros online, but they will be severely backordered. So, even if you plan to get all your shopping done online this year, you still might also want to start now.
Expect Shipping Delays
Along with the chip shortage, you can also expect long shipping delays for almost any device you can order on the Apple Store. Currently, the latest MacBook Pro is backordered until at least December. And, depending on where you live and the customization options you choose, your MacBook Pro might not arrive until after Christmas, even if you ordered it today.
While you only have to wait a few weeks for most Apple devices, the most backordered item on the Apple Store is the new $19 Screen Polishing cloth. You currently have to wait 10-12 weeks for this 6.3-inch piece of fabric, which means you might not get it until late January if you ordered it today.
Apple Extends Return Policy
In order to accommodate customers who experience longer-than-normal shipping delays this year, Apple is extending its return deadline on most items. Now, if you receive an item between November 1, 2021, and December 25, 2021, you can return it through January 8, 2022.
Any items that you receive after December 25 will be subjected to Apple’s standard return policy, which gives you 14 days to return an item.
While Apple doesn’t usually hold big sales on its online store, you can find Apple devices on sale from other retailers. Here are some of the best early Black Friday sales with deals on Apple products.
Amazon Launches Early Black Friday Deals
In its recent earnings call, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the company also expects to incur billions of dollars in additional costs to deal with supply chain disruptions this holiday season. Olsavsky said this additional cost is needed to “ensure that we continue to maintain our service levels to customers.”
One way the company said it is trying to deal with these new constraints is by moving sales up earlier to spread out the volume of orders. In fact, Amazon already started its Epic “Black-Friday-worthy” deals nearly a month ago, and now the online retailer has officially launched its early Black Friday deals page.
Walmart is kicking off its early Black Friday deals for online customers today, and it will bring those same deals to stores starting on November 5. The retailer’s Black Friday “Deals for Days” event will be divided into phases, with the second phase starting on November 10.
Last week, Target also announced its first week-long Holiday Best deals event last week. Starting on October 31, the company will announce new deals that will feature the “best planned price of the season.” These deals will be available online, in-store, and even for curbside pickup.
Best Buy started its early Black Friday ads on October 18, and the retailer warns customers that holiday sales will feature limited-quantity items “with no rainchecks.” So, if an item is sold out, it could remain sold out through Black Friday.
To encourage customers to start shopping early, Best Buy has implemented its Black Friday Price Guarantee. If you buy any items with this label and the price drops before November 26, the retailer will automatically refund you the difference directly to your credit card, gift card, or by sending you a check in the mail.
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