A Covid-19 outbreak in Zhengzhou, China, has raised the likelihood that the iPhone 14 may face manufacturing delays and supply shortages. The iPhone 13’s future availability may be jeopardised as a result of this development.
Zhengzhou is home to the world’s biggest iPhone manufacturing factory, and this epidemic is incredibly worrying for Apple. In fact, the neighbourhood has been dubbed “iPhone City” because of Apple’s strong presence. Zhengzhou has so far evaded any lockdowns, but the Chinese government has recently put the city under a one-week quarantine after the discovery of 14 cases inside the city.
Covid is still a problem in China, despite the fact that the rest of the world has adopted the “live with it” approach. When just a few of instances are found, drastic actions such as shutting down an entire city are not out of the question.
However, this story comes less than 24 hours after Apple was rumoured to have asked a key gadget maker, Foxconn, to hire iPhone assembly line employees in China sooner than it normally does. In order to make up for the loss of output in other sections of China that were facing lockdowns, it apparently took this move. Foxconn, on the other hand, has been forced to put a halt to the hiring of new employees, according to the South China Morning Post.
The significance of Apple’s Zhengzhou manufacturing facility’s closed-loop production method is shown in this development. As a result, many of the employees are required to reside on-site, often for weeks at a time. Even if the Zhengzhou shutdown is prolonged longer, Apple will be hoping that security measures like as these will enable iPhones to continue to be made.
The iPhone 13’s current supply might be affected, as well as the iPhone 14’s release later this year, as a result of this new discovery. There had been some relief while other sections of China were under lockdown, but now Apple’s single largest iPhone manufacturing line is directly impacted.
The Zhengzhou situation is unclear at this point, but previous lockdowns in Shanghai and Kunshan have impacted Apple’s manufacturing capacity, resulting in a shortage of iPads and MacBooks in the supply chain. A shutdown of iPhone City would have been the last thing the firm needed. The iPhone 14’s launch supply might be affected, even if the iPhone 14 isn’t pushed back from its 2022 release date as a result of these lockdowns.
In light of this development, Apple’s continuing use of China as an assembly centre is once again in doubt. Apple’s dependence on China has “created issues for the business, investors and customers throughout the epidemic,” according to a Bloomberg article from earlier this week.