Still waiting on your PS5 and iPad to ship? Blame the global chip shortage

Today, one of the largest chipmakers in the world, Intel, said that it might take a couple of years for the worldwide chip shortage to settle down. Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of the company, emphasized severity of the problem yet again during a virtual session of the Computex conference after highlighting it first in April. 

Intel’s not the first or only company to raise the alarm about this global crisis. In April, South Korean tech giant Samsung noted that this problem is hitting its smartphone and appliances business. The company said that it has to “rebalance” its production plans to manage its sales demands. Fellow Korean tech company LG has also voiced similar concerns.

This seems like a serious problem. So let’s take a look at what’s causing it, and how it will impact you?

What’s causing the global chip shortage?

There are a couple of major reasons surrounding this issue. First, we’ve been using more chips than ever. Your car, your speaker, your phone, your microwave, and probably your hand-wash dispenser also has some kind of chip. So, to make all these devices and meet the demands of production, chipmakers have had to buckle up.

The second problem is of course the coronavirus pandemic. Companies in various parts of the world have had to shutter their factories in compliance with local regulation to stop the spread of the deadly virus. That means they’ve had to cancel several bulk orders of hardware components from different companies, and leave their product launch and marketing plans in disarray.

Glenn O’Donnell, vice president of research at the advisory firm Forrester, noted that pandemic has also accelerated demand for work-from-home products with meetings and events being conducted over Zoom calls all over the world — leading to an increased demand for chips.

How’s this affecting companies and you?

The simple answer is that your devices will get delayed. Last year, Apple had to delay the launch and availability of the iPhone 12 series by few weeks past its usual shipping dates after its annual September launch event. Earlier this year, the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, noted that production of the new iMac and new iPad Pros will be delayed because of this global problem.