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Late last year and early this year, we warned of Intel chip shortages, which made it difficult to get new computers for those who needed them to run Windows 10. Now, we have other shortages, compounded by some Apple decisions. So, who’s coming up short? It could be Apple.
Getting Apple stuff for our clients is becoming more challenging for the more expensive, high-end devices. The wait can be up to two weeks for things we used to get right away, and some of that is because of varying store hours.
One of our clients is waiting for a Mac with an SSD hard drive and a 27-inch monitor. It’s a combination that’s out of the ordinary, but it was never a problem to walk out of the store with that system. Now, we’re hoping the wait is only two weeks.
Looking ahead, Apple is expected to start making its own chips later this year for the 2021 Macs. It’s a logical move for the company, which is looking for more end-to-end control of its systems. Whether they’ll be able to produce enough chips because of COVID-19 concerns is one thing. Another thing is that when it drops the Intel chips (which could free up chip production for Windows-based computers), we think it may become harder to run Windows software on a Mac.
This has the effect of drawing a new line in the “cybersand” when it comes to compatibility, and that could be a problem in the business world. A lot of business applications are written for Windows, but the Apple platform has been able to accommodate them. For Mac fans, it’s the best of both worlds. But unless the app developers and Apple can up with apps for the platform, there’s another issue to add to our woes.
For those of you sticking with Windows systems, you can expect Intel’s supply problems to persist through the rest of this year. That is forcing some manufacturers to switch to AMD chips to meet the demand for their products. We’re still a fan of Intel chips, but if you need a new computer, we can certainly take a look at the AMD-equipped machines and see which one can work for you.
On the phone front, Apple is beating the drums for the iPhone 12, and it’s scheduled for release in the fall. Football is also scheduled for this fall, but we live in unusual times. Since all we can deal with at this time are rumors and speculations, this is expected to be the first year that Apple introduces 5G support in the iPhone. This will allow the new phones to connect to much faster networks. While all the phones will have 5G connectivity, we don’t know if all models will have super-fast mmWave support in all countries. Of course, if you can’t travel, you can hold on to your current phone or, if you must upgrade a phone within your family or business, you can go with any of the less expensive iPhones, which are more than serviceable, and upgrade later.
While we don’t have a crystal ball, we can discuss your current and future computer and phone needs and help you find the best solution for your needs. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to talk about it.
If you’re wondering why it’s taking longer to deliver and install new computers, it’s because there’s a shortage of Intel chips. Intel has placed the blame on several factors, including a slower demand in China. According to reports, Intel can also cite sales to cloud customers, a weakening NAND flash market and weaker modem demand.
Some observers contend the shortage will worsen this spring, a traditionally high season for entry-level computers such as Chromebooks. Others say Intel simply didn’t anticipate the demand and didn’t put in enough manufacturing capacity to handle the volume. With priority going to data centers (the cloud), that means there are fewer chips available for PCs and laptops. PC processors are reportedly last on the company’s priority list.
As for us, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the lead time for new computers. We used to be able to get them in a day or two. In one instance, an order placed in January arrived at the end of March. One of the computer manufacturers affected by the shortage is Dell, one of our favorites for Windows-based units. Dell prefers Intel chips, and so do we. Dell said earlier this year it might look for other sources, but as it stands, we’re stuck for the moment. We don’t expect the situation to improve until the second half of 2019 – and nobody’s making sure-fire predictions.
Some industry sources predict the shortage will ease by the summer because the large data-center customers have made their required purchases. But with expected Chromebook sales still to be made, others are predicting the shortages will extend well into the summer and maybe beyond. The shortage may worsen before it gets better – because of the Chromebooks. We’ve seen reports that Intel will ramp up production facilities in Ireland and Israel, increasing capacity by 25 percent.
What can we do in the meantime to minimize the effects of the Intel shortage?
If you’re looking at new computers to improve business efficiencies, we can look at upgrading the efficiencies of other equipment, such as routers, servers and peripherals. Those are improvements you are likely to make down the road, anyway, so it could mean you’ll have a two-stage process. The computers will come later. We can also fine-tune your software and make sure that all your operating system and app software is up to date and in sync with your computers’ capabilities.
If you’re still using the Windows 7 operating system and planning to purchase new computers to work with Windows 10, we can place your orders now. Even though your new systems may be backlogged, they will be in the pipeline, and you should be able to plan your migration to your new systems before next February, when Microsoft ends its Windows 7 support.
We can also consider alternatives, such as computers with chips from other manufacturers. However, we urge you to consider the long-term effects of any alternative you select to solve a short-term problem.
If you are planning on buying new computers, let’s talk about your needs and explore possible solutions in light of the Intel chip shortage. Good planning can help you mitigate the effects of the current market conditions. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to set up an appointment.