Our phones are made out of multiple components which are sourced from all over the world. While diversifying component suppliers makes sense, it also means that in the event that something goes wrong in that part of the world, it could hinder production or supply, which is what Apple could potentially be facing.
According to a report from Reuters, it appears that Apple’s 2019 iPhones could face some potential supply disruptions due to Japan planning to tighten their restrictions of the export of certain materials used to make smartphones. These restrictions will apply to exports to South Korea and involve materials such as fluorinated polyimide and high-purity hydrogen fluoride.
These materials are used to make components such as smartphone displays, resist, and semiconductors. What these restrictions mean is that if Japanese exporters want to export these materials to South Korea, they will need to apply for an export permit which is expected to take about 90 days to approve, potentially causing some delays for businesses.
It is unclear as to how much this could affect Apple, but given that the company’s iPhones and Apple Watches rely on OLED displays which are produced by Samsung, it could have an impact, but how big remains to be seen.