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Apple lost $6 billion to chip shortage and manufacturing delays in Q4, Tim Cook says

Apple today posted strong earnings for its fourth fiscal 2021 quarter, reporting all-time highs for its services and Mac divisions. The company says it took in revenue of $83.4 billion, a year-over-year increase of 29 percent, and earnings per share of $1.24. That earnings number came in below Wall Street expectations of $84.85 billion.

CEO Tim Cook told CNBC that supply chain constraints had a clear impact on financial results this quarter. “We had a very strong performance despite larger than expected supply constraints, which we estimate to be around $6 billion,” Cook said, attributing the supply issues to “the industry-wide chip shortages that have been talked about a lot and COVID-related manufacturing disruptions in Southeast Asia.”

The company is fresh off the launch of several new products, including the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro, a new iPad mini, ninth-gen iPad, Apple Watch Series 7, third-generation AirPods, and most recently, the eagerly anticipated MacBook Pro powered by Apple silicon. The latest iPhones weren’t released until late in the quarter, but the iPhone business as a whole continued to show strong momentum and was up 47 percent over a year ago. The iPad was also up 21 percent over the year-ago quarter.

Like other large tech companies, and as Cook made clear, Apple is dealing with major supply chain challenges: the high-end iPhones remain difficult to find in stock at Apple retail locations, and its 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are already severely backordered. If you don’t want to deal with long shipping delays, the best option is routinely checking stock at local Apple stores. But even that’s not a guaranteed strategy, and the reality is that buying Apple’s latest gadgets is more difficult than in years past.

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