Apple is on track to ship 20 percent fewer iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max units than expected this quarter due to recent covid lockdown restrictions and labor protests at an iPhone production plant owned by Foxconn. The latest report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimates a shortfall of 15 to 20 million units, far worse than the 6 million units predicted earlier this week. The 14 Pro and Pro Max were already hard to find, and Kuo predicts that mass shipments won’t resume until late December at the earliest.
Workers at the massive Foxconn facility have reportedly been forced to live on-site in an attempt to contain a covid outbreak. Protests ensued, with workers citing withheld pay and poor conditions, spurring Foxconn to offer some newly recruited employees $1,400 to leave the facility.
When the strict lockdown measures went into effect earlier this month, Apple warned that customers should expect long waits for the 14 Pro models. A quick search of Apple stores around Seattle and Portland turned up zero 14 Pro and Pro Max models in stock in any storage or color configuration. Apple’s website currently estimates a December 29th delivery date for a 14 Pro ordered today.
Kuo says this shortfall has “major downside risks” for Apple, predicting 20–30 percent lower iPhone revenue for the fourth quarter of 2022. It’s also likely to push Apple to look for other suppliers for its Pro models. Kuo says the company has already moved 10 percent of production to other Chinese manufacturers and points out that Foxconn will likely have a hard time remaining the sole assembler for the 15 Pro series.
You may be out of luck if you were planning on gifting someone a $1,000 phone for Christmas. But you know what, maybe that’s for the better. In fact, Kuo thinks that prospective 14 Pro buyers won’t just wait until the device is available in January and buy one then. Instead, most of the demand will disappear.
That makes sense. With a recession looming, more people may be willing to make do with an older phone for a little while longer rather than upgrade. And the standard iPhone 14 isn’t particularly compelling. Compared to the Pro, it’s a very modest year-over-year upgrade. The best option might just be the one that’s free and available today: upgrading to the more exciting iOS 16 if you haven’t yet, rather than getting a new device.