Apple is expected to launch the new iPhone 14 series in September this year with four models: two 6.1-inch and two 6.7-inch models, the 5.4-inch mini model will be discontinued. But the new COVID-19 wave in China and its related lockdowns/ health restrictions are causing production issues in the country.
Nikkei Aisa reports that the conditions in China are impacting Apple’s iPhone development schedule. As iPhone 14 lineup is still in the engineering verification test stage, the disruptions have put at least one model behind the production schedule which could affect the initial production volume.
Apple ordered suppliers in China to “speed up” the development of iPhone 14 lineup to make up for lost time
All four models of the new iPhone 14 series are in the engineering verification test stage (EVT), Apple suppliers design the mechanical parts and manufacturing flow. According to the report, the tech giant has instructed its suppliers in China to “speed up” the product development process so they can meet the mass production deadline.
“It is challenging to make up for the lost time. … Apple and its suppliers are working around the clock to speed up development,” said an executive with an Apple supplier, adding that the pace of reopening in Shanghai is “rather slow.”
The production disruption in Shanghai has put one of the models three weeks behind schedule. And the company will only be able to go into mass production in September if the development process ends by early June.
One of the models is about three weeks behind the usual schedule due to the lockdowns in Shanghai. China’s largest city on May 17 finally announced it had reached “zero COVID” status. It took Shanghai six weeks to get there.
“If the development process can be sped up and proceed to the next level around the end of June or beginning of July, then it should still be possible to meet the mass production deadline of early September,” another person familiar with the matter said. “But it really depends on whether the process can accelerate soon.”
The new wave of COVID-19 cases in China started in March this year and the country immediately went under a nationwide lockdown with necessary health measures. The restrictions halted production at manufacturing hubs in major cities: Shanghai, Shenzhen, Kunshan, and Zhengzhou.
At the Q2, 2022 earning call, Apple estimated that it could lose up to $8 billion in revenue in the upcoming quarter due to lockdowns in China. Recently, the tech giant asked to suppliers boost production outside China.