Last night Apple released its financial results for the three months ended 26 June 2021, and the news was almost uniformly positive - with revenue up 36% and profit up 93% compared to the same quarter last year. But there was one fly in the ointment.
As Alan Martin on Trusted Reviews quickly spotted, chief financial officer Luca Maestri dropped the bombshell that supplies of the iPhone 13 (and other Apple products) are likely to be constrained in the coming months.
"We expect supply constraints during the September quarter to be greater than what we experienced during the June quarter," Maestri told investors. "The constraints will primarily impact iPhone and iPad."
The iPhone 13 is almost certain to be announced in September - one analyst has gone so far as to predict a specific week, suggesting the event will take place on 14 September - and is very likely to go on sale in the same month. Given the enormous demand that's likely to greet the new iPhone handsets, it's fair to say that supply now looks likely to fall short.
It might seem odd for Apple to predict shortages, particularly in reference to a product whose launch was entirely predictable and will have been planned for at least a year in advance. If the company knows supplies are going to fall short, why not simply order more? We've heard sources in the supply chain, for example, say that it's increased orders from around 75 million units last year to either 90 million or 100 million units, depending on whether you count entire iPhone 13 handsets or just the A15 chips to go in them.
The fact is, however, that there's been a global chip shortage for more than a year now, and while Apple is understood to have suffered less than anyone, it isn't completely exempt. As vast and well-organised as the company's supply chain is, there are limits to what it can achieve during a semiconductor drought.
The other aspect, of course, is that by admitting shortages are likely, Apple encourages enthusiastic preordering and general launch-day hype.
Join in with the pre-launch hype by visiting our regularly updated iPhone 13 news hub. And if you don't want to wait until September, or just prefer the current range, pick up a bargain with our roundup of the best iPhone deals.