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iPhone 14 model reportedly weeks behind schedule — what we know

iPhone 14 Pro render
(Image credit: Unbox Therapy)

Update (May 26): This unknown delayed iPhone may in fact be the iPhone 14 Max.

The time until the iPhone 14 arrives is ticking down, but there could be some snags on the way to launch day according to a new report.

Nikkei Asia (opens in new tab), citing multiple sources, says that one iPhone 14 model (although which one is unclear) is currently three weeks behind schedule due to strict coronavirus lockdowns in China. This could affect the schedule or the number of units available at launch.

Update: New iPhone 14 Pro renders show Apple's phone from every angle (opens in new tab)

All four expected iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are currently said to be in the engineering validation test phase (EVT), the first real-life test of what should be the final design for these phones that is then used to adapt and price-up manufacturing. Under normal circumstances, Apple would finish up EVT by June, and prep for mass production, ready for users to pre-order and buy the new iPhones come September. But with that reported three-week delay, Apple may have to push back the retail launch or accept it's going to quickly run out of units during pre-orders.

Apple's iPhone production has been disrupted before. The iPhone 12 series only launched fully in October of its debut year due to Covid-related disruptions.

Apple is unsurprisingly trying to work around this. "Apple and its suppliers are working around the clock to speed up development," said one anonymous executive, with the aim of still proceeding with the mass production phase by early July.

To recap, we expect four iPhone 14 models this year based on the leaks and rumors: a 6.1-inch iPhone 14, a new 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max (replacing the mini), a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max. As you'll see in our iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro Max preview comparison, the Pro series is tipped for some of the biggest upgrades, including a new rear 48MP iPhone 14 Pro camera and a new punch hole and pill cutout to replace the notch

We won't know for sure if Apple will be able to fix this delay by mid-September, as the iPhone 14 launch event is tipped for September 13. Make sure to keep up with the latest rumors, like the iPhone 14 Pro's alleged always-on display, the iPhone 14's older chipset and the new front cameras for all the models with our iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro hubs.

A new report now claims that Apple's keeping its iPhone production estimate flat for this year, suggesting there could be fewer iPhone 14s available than we expected.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.