Customers look at Apple iPhone 5C and 5S at an Apple store in Beijing's Sanlitun area, September 30, 2014. The iPhone 6 will be sold in China from Oct 17, after rigorous regulator scrutiny led to Apple Inc reassuring the Chinese government that the smartp
Customers look at Apple iPhone 5C and 5S at an Apple store in Beijing's Sanlitun area, September 30, 2014. Reuters/Jason Lee

Things might be different for Apple this year as the latest model of its flagship product, iPhone 7, may have a delayed launch due to the Taiwan earthquake earlier this month. Apple traditionally launches new iPhone models in the third or fourth quarter of the year and always achieves unprecedented sales post-launch.

Apple’s key partner, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), manufactures Apple’s A-series processors. In fact, according to the reports, the TSMC is solely responsible for the production of the A10 chips this year.

Unfortunately, TSMC factories have been damaged by the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that killed about 116 people on Feb 6. The damage may result in supply chain delays for the A10 processors. These chips are at the heart of the iPhone experience.

After the earthquake, TSMC has thought of a one percent drop in its 2016 production. However, the damage caused seems to be greater than earlier thought, writes India Today. A DigiTimes report confirmed that machines at TSMC’s Fab 6 and Fab 14B units have been restored.

“TSMC originally estimated that more than 95 percent of foundry machines could be restored to normal conditions in 2-3 days following the earthquake. Machines at Fab 6 and Fab 14B have already been fully restored,” the company revealed.

If that is the case, then Apple may be facing a shortage of iPhones at launch and this may also lead to a situation where the company won’t be able to launch the phones globally. Apple may have to call back Samsung to manufacture some of the A10 chips simply to reduce the risk of an iPhone launch delay. However, that does not seem likely as Qualcomm is also leveraging Samsung's foundries for the Snapdragon 820 processor.

In March, Apple is expected to launch its 4-inch iPhone 5se, a new Apple Watch and iPad Air 3.