Amid the ongoing situation related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in China, Apple Inc is facing a dearth of replacement iPhones and individual parts. Citing Apple Store employees, a Bloomberg report said that the company has told its technical support staff at the stores that replacement iPhones for heavily damaged devices will be in short supply for as long four weeks. Hence, they have been advised to offer loaner devices to ease the delays in the supply.
The report also says that some Apple Stores also have a shortage of individual parts. Apple usually replaces parts, like screens or cameras, if a phone is repairable. In cases where an iPhone cannot be repaired, the company often provides a replacement device rather than a new one. This situation further shows the impact of the deadly virus that the companies are facing. China, which is the worst-hit country with COVID-19, is one of the largest manufacturing hubs for various smartphone makers, including Apple.
In the meantime, reports also claim that Apple is reopening its stores in China that were closed due to the outbreak of the virus. Out of the 42 stores, the company has reportedly opened 38 stores. Apple, however, has temporarily shut three stores in Italy, and another one will be shut on the weekend.
‘Apple is set to shutter [another] mall location, Apple Oriocenter, on March 7 and 8 on orders from the Italian government. As demanded by a decree of the President of the Council of Ministers issued last week, all medium and large retail stores, as well as commercial establishments within shopping centres, in the provinces of Bergamo, Lodi, Piacenza, and Cremona are to close on Saturday and Sunday to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Similar measures were established for other provinces and territories,' AppleInsider reported.
Apple is already taking measures and says that ‘deep cleaning protocols’ are its priority. The company has installed hand sanitisers at store entrances. It has also restricted company employees to travel to China and told them to work from home. Media reports have also suggested that the company is also sending relief packages to its employees in China.
In another smartphone manufacturing-related news, Google is also mulling to shift the manufacturing of its rumoured budget offering, the Pixel 4a, from China to countries like Vietnam and Thailand. The company will reportedly begin the production in April and may even manufacture the next generation of smartphone, which may be called the Pixel 5, directly from Vietnam in the second half of 2020.