(Bloomberg Opinion) — For the first time since 2011, Apple Inc. didn’t release a version of its flagship iPhone in September. That delay has had a massive ripple effect through its network of vendors, which makes parsing supply-chain data even more challenging than usual.
Since at least March, we knew that the next installment of the iconic device would be pushed back due to Covid-19. The pandemic initially hit manufacturing lines in China, but continued to impact the rest of the global lineup of companies that contribute to the product, all the way back to the team that develops it in Cupertino.
Foxconn Technology Group is the most obvious example. Its Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. unit, which assembles iPhones at factories chiefly in China, posted a 21% drop in September sales Monday. It’s not alone. Largan Precision Co., which makes camera lenses for smartphones, reported a decrease of 22%.