Chip supply on legacy nodes is Apple's biggest issue, says CEO Tim Cook

Apple managed to sell a crazy amount of iPhones last quarter, but ongoing supply issues have hampered the maximum potential sales of the devices.


The gravy train just keeps rolling for Apple (AAPL) and CEO Tim Cook. The Cupertino-based tech giant released their financials for Q4 2021 earlier this afternoon and took a victory lap over its record-setting revenue numbers to end last year. Despite issues in the global supply chain and the effects it has had on microchip availability, Cook expressed confidence in the company’s leading-edge microprocessor designs. He explained that most supply constraint issues are related to parts of their production flow that aren’t the CPUs and GPUs.

Cook told CNBC that the company’s supply issues were improving. He said that in terms of supply challenges, the December quarter was worse than Apple’s September quarter, but that he expects the March quarter to improve. “Our biggest issue is chip supply, it’s chip supply on legacy nodes,” Apple CEO Tim Cook explained to CNBC’s Julia Boorstin. “And we’re doing okay on the leading edge stuff.”

The powerful processors at the heart of a mobile phone are typically built using the newest, most-advanced fabrication process in order to achieve maximum power efficiency. Meanwhile,  “legacy node” chips are the other, less sophisticated parts that run functions like driving displays or handling radio communications between a device and a cell tower.

Apple launched several new iPhone models in September, and Q4 2021 was the first full quarter of iPhone 13 sales, giving investors a preview of how competitive the devices are in the market. Sales were up nine percent annually to $71.63 billion, although they are growing slower than Apple’s overall business. Cook said that Apple was proud of the nine percent increase in iPhone sales. “That’s despite having supply constraints during the quarter,” Cook said.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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