The availability of at least one iPhone 14 model could be at risk for this fall, as development has fallen three weeks behind due to Chinese COVID-related shutdowns. Nikkei Asia reports that shutdowns could impact initial production volumes.
While restrictions are beginning to ease, Nikkei’s sources tell it that the lockdowns that occurred in March in the Shanghai area have had a lingering effect on the iPhone supply chain.
“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.”
Apple has reportedly told suppliers to speed up their product development in an effort to make up for the lost time before the delay affects the typical manufacturing schedule.
Of the four models that Apple is expected to launch this year – a 6.1-inch iPhone 14, a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro, a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max (Apple is expected to drop the “mini” model after lackluster sales) – It is not clear which model is the one that is being affected.
Currently, all four iPhone 14 models are in the engineering verification test, or EVT, stage of development, says Nikkei‘s sources. The new models should move on to the verification stage by the end of June.
“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.”
Restrictions still in place in terms of living and travel in the greater Shanghai area have hampered the production of a number of products. The operation of the entire supply chain in China hasn’t yet returned to normal, despite the relaxing of restrictions in the region.
Taiwan Institute for Economic Research Chiu supply chain analyst Shih-fang told Nikkei the situation might not only affect the production but also new product development. “It would take at least one to two more months for the supply chain to recover,” said Chiu.