Getting a hold of an iPhone 14 Pro could become even harder in the coming weeks due to troubles with Apple's manufacturing partner in China.
According to a new Apple statement, the Foxconn production plant in Zhengzhou, the location of the main iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max production plant, is currently "operating at significantly reduced capacity" due to a Covid-19 lockdown in the city that began on November 2. One estimate (via Reuters) believes that the reduction could be as high as 30%.
As a result, Apple states that it expects "lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated and customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products."
High demand for the new Pro iPhones has already meant a wait of a month or longer between buying a phone and it being delivered, and this reduction in output will not help. This is particularly bad timing for buyers now that the holiday season approaches, as no doubt many users were waiting to take advantage of Black Friday deals to get money off or extra perks with their iPhone purchase. Now it seems unlikely that any iPhone 14 Pros bought during Black Friday will arrive before the end of the year.
Major Covid lockdown wreaks havoc
Due to the lockdown, Foxconn factory staff have been confined to their quarters within the facility, with accounts of large numbers of workers attempting to leave despite the restrictions due to alleged poor care and bad conditions on-site.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo commented on the lockdown's impact, suggesting that Foxconn may speed up its new production facilities in India to avoid further delay due to strict Chinese Covid lockdowns. This could help with shortages, but this is unlikely to be a quick fix. Currently, the Indian factory produces only 2 - 4% of Apple's total iPhones, says Kuo.
The Zhengzhou lockdown will last until at least November 9, with the chance that the Chinese government will continue the restrictions if it still deems the risk of Covid transmission to be too high. Therefore, the iPhone 14 Pro delay could end up even longer than it is currently, or have a longer-lasting impact on stock levels.
Fortunately for users with smaller budgets or who aren't keen on the Pro's advanced features, the iPhone 14 regular and iPhone 14 Plus don't seem to be as affected by the lockdown. These models are not as big a step forward compared to the Pro models, but having a new larger size option in the Plus model is still welcome. Also, these phones still offer some new features like Crash Detection, Photonic Engine low-light photos, Action Mode video and an auto-focussing selfie camera.