Another COVID Outbreak Stalls Production of High-End Apple iPhones

COVID crisis has not let up in China as month-long outbreak impacts primary iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max plant.

Spencer Chin, Senior Editor

November 16, 2022

3 Min Read
Apple-iPhone-14-Pro-iPhone-14-Pro-Max-hero-220907_Full-Bleed-Image.jpg.large (1).jpg
Apple is again reeling from a COVID-19 outbreak that has reduced production of its recently introduced iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max smartphones. Image courtesy of Apple

COVID-19 restrictions have plagued production of Apple products at various points over the past two-and-a-half plus years, resulting in shortages and sold-out products. According to a recent press release on Apple’s website, yet another COVID-19 outbreak has this time temporarily impacted the primary iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max smartphone assembly facility located in Zhengzhou, China.

The press release noted that the facility, which is operated by Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn, is currently operating at significantly reduced capacity, with Apple stating they are prioritizing the health and safety of the workers in its supply chain.

Apple stated in the release that while demand for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models, which were introduced in September, has been strong, it now expects lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated with customers will experiencing longer wait times to receive their new products.

COVID-19 related plant shutdowns are no stranger to Apple, which back in March shut down its Shenzhen iPhone plant, also owned by Foxconn, when an outbreak from the then fast-spreading Omicron variant BA.2 hit. However, the timing of the latest outbreak, at the beginning of the holiday shopping season, could present more potential risks for Apple.

Related:Not All iPhone 14 Smartphones Are Alike

On Apple's website, an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max smartphone order has a 30-to-37-day delivery timing, compared to 10 to 15 days a few weeks ago.

A recent blog post by David Naranjo of DSCC (Display Supply Chain Consultants), a market research firm covering displays and consumer electronics, noted that Zhengzhou plant China has been dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak since mid-October that has created fear and panic among many of its workers.

Naranjo also noted in the blog post that smartphone panel shipments will be 5 million units lower for iPhone 14 smartphone models as a result of lower panel shipments for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus smartphones. For device shipments, Foxconn expects to increase utilization in order to minimize the impact to less than 10% of the planned production, Naranjo added.

According to a previous blog post from Naranjo, total projected volumes of panel shipments for the iPhone 14 series smartphones were projected to be 16% higher than the iPhone 13 series during the same time period of June through December. With the reduced plant production,  iPhone 14 series smartphone shipments are now projected to be 10% higher than the iPhone 13 series, due to reduced panel shipments for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. Naranjo added that iPhone 14 Pro smartphone unit shipments are expected to be up 31% compared to the iPhone 13 Pro, while iPhone 14 Pro Max smartphone  unit shipments will be up 44% when compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Related:Apple Upgrades Connectivity, Services in latest iPhones and Smartwatches

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Spencer Chin

Senior Editor, Design News

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News, covering the electronics beat, which includes semiconductors, components, power, embedded systems, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and other related subjects. He is always open to ideas for coverage. Spencer has spent many years covering electronics for brands including Electronic Products, Electronic Buyers News, EE Times, Power Electronics, and electronics360. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him at @spencerchin.

Sign up for the Design News Daily newsletter.

You May Also Like