Apple’s iPhone 14 manufacturing woes could actually be good for the iPhone 15

iPhone 15 Ultra render with rounded edges
(Image credit: @jonjuhan/Twitter)

Apple’s future iPhones, such as the iPhone 15 we’re expecting to see in September 2023, may be easier to get, even though the company could drop Foxconn as its main phone maker. 

While Apple designs its own phones, Foxconn assembles the likes of the iPhone 14, building smartphones at a scale to reach the millions that demand Cupertino's phones. But ongoing protests at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant, along with other supply chain disruptions, has seen Apple reportedly lose out on millions of iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro shipments. 

In fact, Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo estimates that Apple could lose out on 20 million shipments of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max in the current holiday quarter. As a result, Kup reckons Apple could drop Foxconn as the exclusive supplier of the iPhone 14 lineup. 

“In addition to facing the challenge of lower-than-expected iPhone shipments/revenue in 4Q22, it will also be difficult for Hon Hai [Foxconn] to continue to be the exclusive assembler of the iPhone 15 Pro series because Apple wants to diversify supply risks,” Kuo explained in a Medium post

This might sound bad, but it could ultimately be of benefit to iPhone fans. That’s because if Apple moves away from Foxconn, it might turn to multiple manufacturers to make its phones. And that would mean not being reliant on a single manufacturer, which could fall foul of disruption, and thus fall behind on iPhone shipments. 

We’ve seen such problems happen before with wait times for certain iPhone models increasing rapidly as soon as pre-orders go live. That can be frustrating if you were holding out for an upgrade, only to then find that you need to wait for weeks or even longer to get your hands on the latest iPhone. 

Of course, economic and component supply issues could still result in some production and shipment challenges, which might mean the iPhone 15 range could still suffer from delays. This might become particularly pertinent if Apple launches an iPhone 15 Ultra, expected to be a more-premium take on the iPhone Pro Max, alongside the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. More models means more manufacturing demands. 

And putting together the iPhone 15 already figures to introduce a number of new challenges. With USB-C, solid state buttons, and camera upgrades, like a periscope telephoto lens, the iPhone 15 range could bring some more notable upgrades than the iPhone 14, which only really has the Dynamic Island on the Pro models are its standout feature. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.