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COVID-19 restrictions at the iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China are going to increase the wait times for Apple’s flagship phones this year — the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. The factory is currently operating at “significantly reduced capacity” and the company is working with the supplier to return to normal production levels while ensuring the safety of its workers.
According to the company, they now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than previously anticipated and “customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products”.
Apple issued the update in a press statement following strong demand for the two phones. An October report from Reuters had already anticipated a drop of as much as 30% in the iPhone’s production number because of the strict COVID restrictions affecting Foxconn, Apple’s Chinese supplier for the newest iPhones.
The New York Times further reported that nearly 200,000 workers from Foxconn have been recently forced to live inside the factory building during an outbreak with limited food and supplies for several days at an end. This has led to the workers fleeing the production facility in groups which could further deteriorate the problem as the outbreak spreads once again.
That said, Apple isn’t fully dependent on its Chinese suppliers anymore with the company recently shifting production away from China with the base iPhone 14 models now being made in India since September.
The effect of these lockdowns is yet to significantly impact other Apple products. The company announced a bunch of new products alongside the four new iPhone 14s for this year including three different Apple Watch variants at the company’s All Out event held on September 7. The iPad and iPad Pro have also been recently refreshed with stronger processors including the iPad Pro getting the M2 chip among other improvements.
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