The official iPhone 14 release date remains a mystery. But some encouraging news out of Asia suggests that the likely fall launch of Apple's next phone appears to be on track.
Specifically, Foxconn — Apple's primary partner for assembling iPhones — reports that it's not suffering any ill effects from Covid lockdowns in China earlier this spring. "The overall lockdown impact on Foxconn is rather limited," chairman Young Liu said in the Nikkei Asia report, adding that the company's manufacturing plants have been operating at normal levels.
That's potentially good news for Apple. When news of Covid lockdowns hit, Foxconn was set to pause operations at its Shenzen facilities. As CNBC reports, that's exactly where many Apple products, including the iPhone, are put together. Any sustained shutdown would likely impact Apple's ability to ship iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models in the usual early fall launch window.
The optimistic report from Foxconn doesn't guarantee the iPhone 14 won't face any delays or chip shortages. But it is an encouraging sign, especially in light of warnings from Apple earlier this spring that it expected to be hit with supply constraints during the June quarter. The bad news is that a new report says that the regular iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max won't get the fastest new A16 Bionic chip; it will apparently be exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro lineup.
Apple told investors that Covid-19 shutdowns and silicon shortages could impact sales by $4 billion to $8 billion during the three months ending this June. At the time, those shortages were mostly impacting Apple's ability to deliver Macs and iPads to customers, but the outlook wasn't encouraging for the iPhone 14's prospects.
Based on our own predictions and previous rumors and leaks, the iPhone 14 could be announced September 13. And the iPhone 14 release date could hit on September 22, which would be 10 days later. Make sure you check our Apple Store coupons page for the latest promo codes.
Last fall, Apple began iPhone 13 sales on September 24, which is in line with when past iPhones became available. However, Apple quickly ran into supply problems, with demand for iPhone 13 Pro models particularly high. It wasn't until the start of this year, that Apple had enough inventory on hand to meet demand.
The timing of the iPhone 12 launch wasn't ideal for Apple, either. Occurring in the first year of the Covid pandemic, that 2020 launch didn't happen until October — and then, only the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro shipped initially. Two other models wouldn't hit stores until November of that year.
Obviously, Apple would like to avoid a repeat of that situation. It's still not clear whether supply chains will work in the company's favor for the iPhone 14 launch, but Foxconn's report certainly makes us more optimistic that we'll see new iPhones sooner in the fall than later.