Apple iPhone Pro hit by longest delays after China factory disruption

Covid lockdowns and worker unrest has affected key assembly plant in Zhengzhou

The Apple iPhone 14 Pro was released in September. Bloomberg
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Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro models are taking longer to deliver than ever, as the company’s key assembly plant in Zhengzhou, in central China, weathers Covid lockdowns and worker unrest.

Customers buying Apple’s premium devices in the US this year can now expect to wait as long as 37 days, according to Counterpoint Research, which monitors delivery times every year.

This is far higher than for the iPhone 13 Pro family and longer than the initial launch of the current generation.

Delivery days are “increasing significantly” for iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models across all markets, Counterpoint analysts said.

The Zhengzhou facility, in Henan province, operated by Foxconn Technology Group, accounts for most of the world’s iPhone Pro supply. It houses as many as 200,000 workers during the peak holiday season.

It’s been through a series of disruptions after a Covid outbreak in October, including an abrupt government-imposed lockdown and violent worker protests against restrictions and living conditions.

“The zero China Covid policy has been an absolute gut punch to Apple’s supply chain with the Foxconn protests in Zhengzhou a black eye for both Apple and Foxconn,” said Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities.

“We estimate that Apple now has significant iPhone shortages that could take off roughly at least 5 per cent of units in the quarter and potentially up to 10 per cent depending on the next few weeks in China.”

Apple is now expected to face a shortfall of six million iPhone Pro units this year as a result of those disruptions, Bloomberg News has reported, and the company has said it anticipates longer delivery times this year.

Apple and Foxconn anticipate making up for orders lost this quarter by catching up on production in 2023, though it’s not certain that customers will still want to buy at that time.

Counterpoint’s research is based on averaged data the firm collects three to four times per week. The current wait time in certain locations, including California, is 30 days.

“It’s unfortunate for Apple to be short of its flagship Pro series going into the holiday season, especially if buyers end up pivoting to a competing product,” IDC’s Bryan Ma said. “The good thing for Apple is that it has plenty of ecosystem stickiness to contain most of the leakage and satiate this demand in the following quarters.”

Updated: November 29, 2022, 7:53 AM