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Apple Postponing MacBook, iPad Production Amid Chip Shortage - Report

The biggest increase in chip demand on record, fueled by work-from-home dynamics and electric vehicles, is being slowed by a global shortage in semiconductor supplies.

Apple Inc.  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report is postponing MacBook and iPad production amid the ongoing shortage in global semiconductors, Nikkei Asia reported Thursday, as the industry's supply-chain issues continue to hit the world's biggest tech companies. 

Nikkei said MacBook Pro production is being hit by a lack of chips that are mounted on the computer's circuit board, while the iPad is being slowed by issues in the supply chain for display components. As yet, the paper noted, consumers haven't felt the impact of the slowdown, but with Apple reportedly preparing to launch new iPad Pro and re-designed MacBooks in the coming months, the intensifying shortage in global semi supplies is starting to bite even the biggest and most diverse tech companies.

President Joe Biden, who wants around $37 billion in U.S. funds to kick-start domestic semiconductor production, will meet with industry leaders at the White House next week to address the shortage, which is linked to last year's surge in computer and consumer tech demand as the global pandemic kept hundreds of millions of people working from home and companies scrambled to manage their cloud data storage solutions.

Apple shares were marked 1.6% higher in early trading Thursday to change hands at $130.00 each.

Chip demand surged last year amid the work-from-home shift triggered by the global coronavirus pandemic, lifting worldwide sales by 6.3% to just under $640 billion. That demand looks set to continue well into this year and next, as well, as economies move out from the pandemic's grip and government's stoke investment in green technologies. 

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The February deep freeze in Texas, however, shuttered factories run by Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest chipmaker, adding to supply-chain issues that were first triggered by a damaging fire at a Japan-based factory run by Asahi Kasei Microdevices.

Samsung, in fact, warned last month that the global shortage has created a "serious imbalance" that is affecting production in everything from smartphones to electric vehicles.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.  (TSM) - Get Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. Report boosted its near-term investment plans on March 31, pledging to spend $100 billion over the next three years to increase production capacity, including a previously-announced factory it will build in Arizona.

U.S. rival Intel  (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report, for its part, will commit $20 billion to build two new factories in Arizona as it plans to evolve into both a designer and manufacturer and next-generation computer and smartphone chips while also developing a new business -- thanks in part to a development partnership with IBM  (IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report -- that allows other companies to use its Arizona hub to make their own semiconductors.

Other industries have been affected, as well, notably in the auto sector, where analysts at IHS Markit says 672,00 fewer cars were produced over the first quarter as a result. 

Ford Motor Co  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report cautioned last month that if the shortage extends through the first half of the year, it could take a hit of between $1 billion to $2.5 billion to its adjusted bottom line, following a similar warning from General Motors GM in early March.