Apple has informed customers that shipments of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max may take longer than expected.
The company said strict COVID measures at a major iPhone factory in Zhengzhou had slowed production.
Factory workers had to live in prison-like conditions under China’s zero COVID policy.
Customers who ordered the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max should expect “longer wait times” for their new phones, Apple warned on Sunday.
The tech giant said it expects lower-than-expected shipments for new iPhone models, due to COVID restrictions at a primary assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China.
“The facility is currently operating at a significantly reduced capacity,” Apple said in a statement. “We are working closely with our supplier to return to normal production levels while ensuring the health and safety of every worker,” the company added.
On Sunday, Apple said demand for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max was still strong. However, according to a Bloomberg report on Monday, Apple expects to produce at least 3 million fewer iPhone 14 units this year than originally planned. The reduced production is mainly due to weaker demand, according to Bloomberg.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 14 Plus and base iPhone 14 were “significantly below expectations,” Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in September. Two of Apple’s suppliers have since cut production of the iPhone 14 Plus by 70% and 90% respectively in October, according to The Information.
Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Foxconn closed a factory after a COVID outbreak
Foxconn, the Taiwan-based electronics maker that makes 70% of global iPhone shipments, according to Reuters, has in recent weeks rolled out strict COVID measures at its main factory in Zhengzhou to comply with China’s zero-case policy.
An outbreak of coronavirus at the plant and surrounding area has prompted Foxconn to implement a “closed-loop” system, in which workers – many of whom come from rural towns and villages across China – are only allowed to travel directly between their company, the dormitories and the factory. After the outbreak, photos and videos showed Foxconn workers trying to flee the factory by scaling fences and walking on highways.
In a statement on Chinese social media platform WeChat on Sunday evening, Foxconn said it was moving all of its active workers to three company-run dormitories.
The closed-loop system could impact iPhone production at the factory by up to 30%, Reuters reported on Oct. 31.
Foxconn has since raised wages for its workers in a bid to lure them to the Zhengzhou plant and ramp up production ahead of the holiday season. The company is also battling rumors that some of its employees died of COVID-19 while quarantining in an on-site dormitory.
In response to Insider’s questions, Foxconn pointed to its unaudited monthly revenue report for October, which it released on Monday, Taiwan time. Foxconn saw revenue fall 5.56% month over month in October, according to the report.
“The company’s fourth quarter visibility was originally ‘cautiously optimistic’, but due to the pandemic affecting some of our operations in Zhengzhou, the company will ‘downgrade’ the outlook for the fourth quarter.” , he added.
Foxconn declined to comment on further questions from Insider about its expected fourth-quarter earnings or how it would revise its outlook.
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