Apple Allegedly Halted M2 Chip Production Amid Plummeting Mac Sales

Apple Mac M2 SoC sales slip hero
Apple has had to react drastically to plummeting Mac sales, according to silicon chip packaging sources in South Korea. Reports say Apple completely halted M2 system-on-chip (SoC) production during January and February this year, only to recommence at half capacity in March. These adjustments will have been made to address a supply / demand imbalance, and it therefore looks like Apple Macs with M2 silicon aren’t selling as well as they were expected to.

Apple has gained a reputation for bucking PC industry downturns, swerving negative trends, and / or weathering them particularly well, but some of the shine has now started to wear off the Cupertino company. Its highly anticipated M2 chips arrived in June 2022, but it was impossible to repeat the massive performance uplifts provided by the revolutionary first installment of Apple Silicon, so enthusiasts were less than enthused, and some were perhaps even disappointed.

Shortly after launch, some broader drawbacks of the new M2 MacBooks began to emerge. For example, a significant SSD downgrade was noticed with some SKUs. Perhaps worse, was a demonstration that heavy workloads exposed a bandwidth weakness with the cheaper SKUs, making them slower than M1 MacBooks.

Now we have established some of the reasons behind slowing M2 Mac sales, let us check the Korean report about what is happening in supporting industry. Apparently, January and February this year marked the first time that Apple has put the brakes on its silicon production. Specifically, Amkor Technology's Korean chip packaging factory stopped receiving TSMC N5 M2 chip wafers at the start of 2023. An insider asserts that, while the flow of M2 Apple Silicon from TSMC was resumed in March, it is “only half of the previous year.” Another big problem for Apple’s packaging partner was that the ‘Apple Line’ couldn't be used for other packaging work when idle.

apple m1 and m2 silicon

Korean source, The Elec, also provides some details about collateral impacts on the supply chain. Not only was the packaging plant impacted by the cut in production, but its solder ball suppliers, thermal interface material suppliers, adhesive and underfill suppliers were all hit by Apple’s tactical decision.

The current PC market downturn, part of a wider macroeconomic malaise, is certainly one of the contributors of Apple’s M2 production plan re-jig. There is light at the end of the tunnel though, as we have seen a number of tech CEOs and analyst firms predict a bottoming out or even bounce to come into effect in the second half of this year.