Apple has warned store technicians that there is a shortage of replacement iPhones due to production problems resulting from the coronavirus.
As Bloomberg reports, users who need to replace an iPhone for serious problems may have to wait between two and four weeks. Apple Store employees have been advised that, where possible, they can have replacement iPhones delivered to customers and, in the interim, provide temporary units (even other than the customer's iPhone) to facilitate waiting time.
Even if Apple did not share the reasons for the shortage with its employees, it is easy to imagine that stocks are currently tight because of supply problems with the coronavirus epidemic in China. In addition, some Apple Store technicians note a shortage of components required for on-site repairs.
Apple suppliers such as Foxconn and Pegatron have been forced to close for two weeks or more, although the situation now appears to be slowly returning to normal.
Apple also suggested some usage precautions to follow:
- Make an appointment before arriving in the store, to avoid unnecessary waiting
- Prepare your device before your arrival, for example by making a backup at home
- Consider online support options
- Keep your device and your hands clean
In addition, in China alone, 38 of the country's 42 Apple stores have been reopened and hours will be extended to return to normal in the coming days. Three of the four stores still closed are located in Tianjin, a port city of more than 15 million people in northeast China. Apple does not yet have a reopening date for these stores, while Suzhou Center Mall will reopen on March 11.
The increase in store hours could be a strong sign that Apple is confident that China is monitoring the coronavirus situation. Infections and deaths reported in China have declined in recent weeks, according to government data, suggesting that the virus may have peaked.