Apple engineers in China have taken on greater responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, as travel restrictions and shutdowns have prevented Apple from sending as many American engineers to the country as it normally does, according to The Wall Street Journal.


While key matters such as product design are still handled at Apple’s California headquarters, the report claims that Apple has gradually given its China-based engineers more power to solve problems, with less input from US employees.

For example, instead of sending product and assembly information from China to Cupertino to make a decision, engineers in China will also include their analysis. People said that China-based engineers who in the past generally reported problems to Cupertino would instead send out proposals to solve the problem.

The report adds that Apple has used video calls to communicate remotely with Chinese employees to solve factory issues and more, in an effort to keep up with its annual product cycles, including new iPhone models each year.

China has imposed strict restrictions and/or lockdowns in cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Zhengzhou in recent weeks. Last month, Apple warned that revenue for the June quarter will be affected by a number of factors, including supply constraints caused by COVID-related disruptions and industry-wide silicon shortages. Apple said it expects these restrictions to result in a $4 to $8 billion impact on revenue for the quarter.

The disruptions led to lengthy shipping estimates for several Apple products, such as the MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and more.

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