Apple has warned the technical staff of its stores that there is a shortage of replacement iPhones due to the production problems resulting from the coronavirus.
As reported by Bloomberg, users who need to have an iPhone replaced for serious problems may have to wait between two and four weeks. Apple Store employees have been informed that, where possible, they can have replacement iPhones shipped to customers and in the meantime provide temporary units (even other than the customer’s iPhone) to facilitate waiting times.
Even if Apple has not shared the reasons for this shortage with employees, it is easy to imagine that stocks are currently limited precisely due to the supply problems resulting from the coronavirus epidemic in China. In addition, some technicians in the Apple Stores are noticing a shortage of the individual components needed for on-site repairs.
Apple vendors such as Foxconn and Pegatron have been forced to close for two or more weeks, although the situation now appears to be slowly returning to normal.
Apple has also suggested a few things to follow these days:
- Make an appointment before arriving in the store, to avoid unnecessary waiting
- Prepare your device before you arrive, for example by backing up at home
- Consider online support options
- Keep your device and hands clean
Moreover, just in China 38 of the 42 Apple Stores were reopened of the country and from the next few days the opening hours will also be extended until returning to normal. Three of the four stores still closed are located in Tianjin, a port city of over 15 million inhabitants in northeastern China. Apple does not yet have a reopening date for these stores, while Suzhou Center Mall will reopen on March 11.
The increase in shop opening hours could be a strong sign that Apple is confident that China is monitoring the coronavirus situation. Infections and reported deaths in China have been declining in recent weeks, according to government data, suggesting that the virus may have peaked.