If you’re one of the many looking to get your hands on the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max – our pick of the best phone money can buy right now – you might want to wait a while. It’s according to the new one statement (opens in a new tab) from iPhone maker Apple, which reports a significant impact on iPhone production following the Covid outbreak at one of the company’s Chinese manufacturing facilities.
“Covid-19 restrictions have temporarily impacted the main iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max assembly plant located in Zhengzhou, China,” Apple said in a statement. “The facility is currently operating at a greatly reduced capacity.”
This is bad news and a worse time for consumers looking to get their hands on the latest iPhone before Christmas, with significant shipping delays expected in the coming months. The Apple Store suggests that the lead time for shipping the Pro models is already 4-5 weeks, which could extend even further if there are prolonged Covid disruptions.
“We continue to see strong demand for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models,” says Apple. “However, we expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than previously anticipated, and customers will have to wait longer for their new products.”
Zhengzhou, the Chinese city home to Apple’s main iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max production facility, has been hit by an outbreak of Covid-19 in recent weeks, with the city reporting 167 cases in the last full week of October. Reportedly, Foxconn, which operates the Apple factory, tried to force the closure of its plant late last month to slow the spread of the virus.
In the immediate aftermath, videos shared on Chinese social media showed factory workers trying to flee the plant amid reports of poor conditions and insufficient food and medical supplies during the imposed quarantine.
Apple is not the first tech company to have its supply chains hit by China’s notoriously strict Covid restrictions, which saw the Zhengzhou area where the Foxconn plant is located in a government lockdown until at least noon on November 9.
The delays come just weeks after the launch of the iPhone 14 in mid-September, with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max proving particularly popular with Apple fans and experts alike. It’s unclear when production at Apple’s Zhengzhou facility may resume normal functionality, but the disruption is undoubtedly a timely blow to both Apple and consumers.