Apple warns of looming iPhone 14 shortage and longer wait times

A closeup on the iPhone 14 Pro series' triple camera system, the device depicted is the Deep Purple colorways
(Image credit: Apple)

If you’re one of the many looking to get your hands on the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max – our pick for the best phone money can buy right now – you might be left waiting a while. That’s according to a new statement from iPhone-maker Apple, which reports significant impacts to iPhone production following a Covid outbreak at one of the company’s China-based production facilities.

“Covid-19 restrictions have temporarily impacted the primary iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max assembly facility located in Zhengzhou, China,” Apple says in its statement. “The facility is currently operating at significantly reduced capacity.”

That’s bad news and worse timing for consumers looking to get their hands on the latest iPhone model in the lead up to Christmas, with significant shipment delays expected in the coming months. Apple’s store suggests wait times for shipment of the Pro models is already 4-5 weeks, which might blow out even further if there are extended Covid disruptions.

“We continue to see strong demand for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models,” says Apple. “However, we now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated and customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products.”

Zhengzhou, the Chinese city that’s home to the primary production facility for Apple's iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, has been hit by an outbreak of Covid-19 in recent weeks, which saw the city reporting 167 cases in the final full week of October. Foxconn, which operates the Apple factory, is reported to have tried to enforce a lockdown of its facility late last month in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

In the immediate aftermath, videos shared on Chinese social media showed factory workers attempting to flee the facility amid reports of poor conditions, and insufficient food and medical resources during the imposed quarantine. 

Apple is not the first tech company to have its supply chains impacted by China’s notoriously strict Covid restrictions, which has seen the area of Zhengzhou housing the Foxconn facility in government-mandated lockdown until at least midday November 9. 

The delays come only weeks following the iPhone 14’s launch 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 might resume normal functionality, but the disruptions are undoubtedly a blow for both Apple and consumers at an inopportune time.

James Cutler
Staff Writer

James is a senior journalist with the TechRadar Australia team, covering news, analysis and reviews in the worlds of tech and the web with a particular focus on smartphones, TVs and home entertainment, AR/VR, gaming and digital behaviour trends. He has worked for over six years in broadcast, digital and print journalism in Australia and also spent time as a nationally recognised academic specialising in social and digital behaviour trends. In his spare time, he can typically be found bouncing between one of a number of gaming platforms or watching anything horror.