It may take a bit longer for your new iPhone SE 2022 or iPhone 13 to reach you due to another unfortunate outbreak of COVID-19.
As reported by Bloomberg (opens in new tab) and Nikkei Asia (opens in new tab), a new week-long lockdown has been ordered in Shenzhen, after 60 new COVID cases were recorded on Sunday. Shenzhen is home to two factories belonging to Foxconn, both of which have had to halt production to comply with the lockdown order. One of these locations is focused on iPhone production, hence the possible impact on Apple's recently announced iPhones.
Apple, and other companies, have already been struggling with long shipping times due to difficulties in acquiring enough chipsets (part of the so-called "Great Chip Shortage") and with transporting the finished goods. Therefore, this lockdown could affect iPhone production depending on just how long it lasts.
However, Foxconn has reportedly shifted production to its Zhengzhou plant, which produces the majority of iPhone units. What production it's moving and in what quantity isn't clear, but hopefully this will mitigate some of the lockdown's impact. It's also worth noting that demand at this time of year for new electronics is softer than the rest of the year.
Shenzhen is home to more companies and partners than just those belonging to Apple. Chinese phone companies like OnePlus, Huawei and Oppo all have bases in the city, while Foxconn makes products for Samsung, Google and other companies as well as Apple. So look out for potential delays to products like the OnePlus 10 Pro and the Google Pixel 6a, too, if the lockdown continues or expands.
For now, the Shenzhen lockdown is due to lift on Sunday March 20, a week after it began. Hopefully the authorities decide it's safe enough to lift restrictions as planned, so that life for Shenzhen's 17 million inhabitants can return to normal, and accordingly businesses like Foxconn can start production again.
However, if it's deemed appropriate to extend the lockdown further, then we may be in for a wait for new Apple products to ship.