Apple reportedly facing shortage of power chips for iPhones

Trade restrictions and COVID-19 appear to be to blame.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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The iPhone 12 may be scarce this holiday shopping season.

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple is dealing with a shortage of chips that manage power consumption in its iPhones and other devices, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter. The shortage could affect Apple's ability to meet demand for its new flagship handset this holiday shopping season.

Power management chips are one of the priciest components after the main application processors that act as the brains of a device, modems and memory chips.

The cause of the shortage is trade restrictions and supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19, the sources told the news agency. US attempts to limit sales to Huawei have resulted in the embattled Chinese company stocking up on components, leaving fewer parts for other buyers.

Read more: iPhone 12 is one of CNET's highest-rated phones ever

Huawei was blacklisted by the US in May 2019 when it was added to the US' "entity list" (PDF). President Donald Trump at the same time signed an executive order essentially banning the company in light of national security concerns that Huawei had close ties with the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied that charge.

The shortages come as the global electronics industry continues to grapple with the effects of lockdowns that prevented full staffing at factories. The disruptions are expected to continue for the next six months, the sources said.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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