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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has impacted the tech world and Apple has been one of the worst affected. Just last week, the iPhone maker announced that it would be closing all its Apple stores outside of Greater China until further notice, and it also announced that its annual WWDC event will now be taking place online in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Now, Apple has made another announcement which too has been a consequence of the deadly outbreak.

Apparently, Apple will be limiting customer purchases of iPhones on its online stores in several countries including the United States and China. Following the announcement, customers opting to buy the iPhone on Apple's online store will be able to place orders for a maximum of two handsets per person.

Apple limits online iPhone purchases to two units per person

According to Reuters, checks on Apple's website in several countries reveal a drop-down menu that prevents customers from buying more than two units of the same iPhone model.

When checking Apple's online stores via Apple.com in the US, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, a message appears above the iPhone listings informing customers that purchases will be limited to two devices per order.

The limit on iPhone purchases online comes just days after the Cupertino, California-based tech giant closed all its brick-and-mortar stores outside China in a its bid to control the spread of coronavirus, which has been forcing global lockdowns of both big and small businesses and putting daily public life on hold.

iPhone purchase caps In the past

Apple had put a similar purchase cap on the iPhone in 2007 when the original iPhone was introduced to the world. It was done to prevent people from buying the iPhone online and then resell it at a higher price.

The latest purchase cap seems to be the result of the coronavirus and its impact on iPhone production and supply. However, Apple has refrained from commenting on this issue, according to the report.

Purchase limit to discourage scalpers

Apple could be limiting online orders in a bid to prevent people from stockpiling iPhones and reselling them on the grey market, the Reuters report cites Nicole Peng, an analyst who tracks the smartphone industry at research firm Canalys, as suggesting.

"This happened in the past in Asia when there is a new iPhone launch and scalpers saw an opportunity to sell to mainland China, where the new phones were harder to buy at the time," she said.

"Now that stores all over the world are closed, online scalpers see a similar opportunity."

Apple's coronavirus worries

Apple has been facing a lot of issues due to coronavirus right from the beginning with its biggest supplier Foxconn being forced to shut down its iPhone manufacturing factories in China since January. The coronavirus blow had not only resulted in Apple's supply chain disruptions, but has also impacted sales due to weak demand during the pandemic.

Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook in a letter to investors warned that the company would be unlikely to meet its initial revenue projections for its Q1 due to the virus.

Even though Foxconn has resumed operations at its Chinese factories and Apple has reopened all its Chinese stores on March 13, the company and many smartphone vendors have been facing weak demand as numerous countries across the world shutter retail stores and encourage social distancing as they tackle COVID-19.

Coronavirus sweeps across the globe

The coronavirus outbreak which originated in China has now been declared a pandemic and as it sweeps across the globe, the deadly virus has so far claimed over 10,000 lives and infected at least 200,000 people. As China prepares to eradicate the virus from the country, the coronavirus has made its way towards West Asia, Europe and America, with European countries like Italy and Spain now becoming the hotbed of the pandemic.