Covid-19 lockdowns in and around Shanghai have severely impacted MacBook Pro production, to the point that 14-inch and 16-inch versions have been delayed until August.
In response, Quanta Computer — the sole supplier of high-end MacBook Pro models — is considering moving production through MacRumors to another location, DigiTimes said. One of those locations under investigation is the Chongqing plant, which is currently unaffected by the lockdown and would significantly reduce lead times.
The decision to relocate production sites is an important one. During a recent earnings call, the tech giant stated that “supply restrictions would disrupt its third-quarter 2022 revenue by as much as $4 to $8 billion.” The Mac Observer notes that most of these logistical problems stem from major manufacturers in Shanghai operating at only 10 to 20% capacity due to labor shortages due to the strict lockdowns affecting plant operations.
Analysis: will it be enough?
While relocating factories can help alleviate some of these manufacturing problems, it’s not a panacea. Quanta, for example, cannot just move all its employees in Shanghai to Chongqing. There is also the issue of exposure risk, which could put even more workers out of the game.
Another major issue is the ongoing global chip shortage, also mainly caused by the pandemic. Even if the labor shortages are remedied, the parts supply problem means that MacBook Pro supply is most likely not going to be at normal levels.
It is not clear how long this could take in terms of a transition, as the labor issue and the components issue are two separate issues. Even as one clears up, the other could continue to significantly slow shipments, making this fall’s release schedule even more up in the air than before.