Apple warns Covid restrictions in China are hurting iPhone production

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After a Covid outbreak at a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, China, some workers chose to go home. Pictured here are the shuttle buses on Oct. 30, 2022.
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Apple said in a statement on Sunday that it has temporarily reduced iPhone 14 production because of Covid-19 restrictions at its primary iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China.

The factory, operated by Foxconn, is operating at “significantly reduced capacity,” Apple said. It warned that it would ship fewer units and that customers would experience longer wait times when ordering devices.

Apple’s warning brings up the possibility that it may sell fewer iPhones in the December quarter because it is having trouble making enough to meet demand. It previously signaled slowing growth in the December quarter last month.

It said that it continues to see strong demand for the affected models, which are higher-priced than other iPhone models and start at $999 and $1099.

In the past week, China has ordered lockdowns in Zhengzhou, where Apple does the majority of its iPhone production. The factory in China has grappled with employees fleeing the facility because of its Covid policies and outbreaks, according to Reuters.

China continues to pursue a “zero-Covid” policy that requires facilities like the iPhone facility in Zhengzhou to operate as “closed loops,” where workers isolate in dorms and work in factories separated from the outside world.

It currently takes 31 days to receive an iPhone 14 Pro if ordered from Apple’s website, longer than the average 2-day lead time for less-expensive iPhone models, JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee said in a note on Sunday.

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