Apple Limits Device Sales Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

By Chand Bellur

March 25, 2020 at 7:42 p.m. PDT

  • Apple only allows one customer to purchase two units of each model.
  • The limits are due to manufacturing closures caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • Apple has limited device sales before, sometimes shortly after launching a new iPhone.

Apple Limits Customers to Two Devices per Model

The novel coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe. For most essential goods, the supply remains steady, however, some panicked shoppers are hoarding the basics. Although there’s no reports of iPhone hoarding, diminished supply, due to the pandemic, has caused Apple to restrict sales of most devices.

For now, customers can only purchase two units of each model. For example, a customer could purchase two iPhone 11’s, two iPhone 11 Max’s, two iPhone 11 Pro’s and so on. The restriction applies to all iPhones and the newest iPad Pro models. All other Apple products can be purchased in bulk.

It remains unclear whether certain institutional buyers, such as corporations or government agencies, are also subject to limits. There’s no clear end date for the purchase quotas. The online Apple Store indicates that purchasing limits may be imposed as needed, due to lack of supply. This has been Apple’s policy for years.

Manufacturing Ramping Up Slowly

China has had enormous success in containing COVID-19, for now. They seem to have flattened the curve, and Apple’s manufacturing facilities have been back online for a few weeks now. Production is ramping up slowly, however, as some facilities have had to change practices to prevent spread of the disease. People need more space, which means fewer workers can occupy a factory. This slows manufacturing, however, it’s essential to prevent spread of the disease

It’s not just Foxconn that’s facing production issues due to the virus. The iPhone’s components are made by various corporations around the world. Virtually all of these enterprises are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Governments around the world are literally shutting down everything except the essentials.

It remains unclear how long it will be until Apple’s manufacturing can normalize. India recently initiated a twenty-one day lockdown, which will cease iPhone XR manufacturing. While the course of the disease is largely unknown, expect supplies of Apple products to be less than normal for at least the next few months.

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