Industry analysts are theorising that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may experience component shortages for its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad product lines in coming months, as a direct consequence of the distressing Earthquake and Tsunami that has caused so much heartbreak in Japan in recent days.
Let me just take a moment to express my love for Japan and the Japanese people. I spent a large portion of my life living in Japan; Tokyo particularly. And I owe much of my career opportunities to that country and its people. I know we are all rooting for them, and have absolute faith in their resilience and ability to bounce back from this.
Part of the damage to Japan’s infrastructure has meant that companies such as the Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co., and Toshiba have had to suspend manufacturing operations while they assess the damage to their businesses.
This means that important resins and memory components that Apple sources from Japan may have to be sourced from elsewhere temporarily. If available. And the knock on effect of near term shortages for certain components may well drive prices up.
For Apple that means reduced production runs, or perhaps even more constrained stocks of its own products. And that may well reduce Apple’s profit margins as well. It is possible that these shortages may affect Apple’s supply of iPad 2 and iPhones well into June.
Some analysts have even downgraded Apple’s stock on the basis of this speculation. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, however, remains bullish about AAPL’s target price of $483, and estimates that a worse case scenario is a small shortfall for Apple in sales.
While others have been worrying about this Apple has been busy making sure its staff and customers in Tokyo are OK. Providing free WiFi, water and technical assistance in its stores for anyone immediately after the crisis. Setting up Red Cross donations for Japan via iTunes, and Steve Jobs and the entire Senior Management staff at Apple have emailed their staff in Japan to let them know that they stand ready to assist them in any way necessary throughout this crisis.
If you would like to donate to Japan via the Red Cross, you can do so here: https://buy.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZFinance.woa/wa/buyCharityGiftWizard
All of the donation goes directly to the Red Cross and Japan as Apple has of course waived their costs and any percentage on these special donations.
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