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Apple warns of longer waits for new iPhone after factory slowdown in China

Customers in an Apple store
Customers shop at an Apple store on the first day of sales for the Apple iPhone 14 in Beijing.
(Mark Schiefelbein / Associated Press)
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Apple is warning customers that they’ll have to wait longer to get its latest iPhone models after coronavirus restrictions were imposed on a contractor’s factory in central China.

The announcement Sunday gave no details but said the factory operated by Foxconn in the city of Zhengzhou was “operating at significantly reduced capacity.”

“We now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated,” Apple said. “Customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products.”

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Foxconn Technology Group said earlier that it imposed restrictions on the factory in Zhengzhou following coronavirus outbreaks. Apple and Foxconn previously hadn’t responded to questions about how iPhone production might be affected.

Last week, access to the industrial zone where the factory is situated was suspended for one week following a surge in infections in Zhengzhou and the departure of workers from the factory.

The lockdown is expected to cause further disruptions to the plant, which in recent weeks has seen a spate of coronavirus infections and an exodus of workers, some of whom fled the factory on foot.

The change in where Apple makes its flagship product comes as manufacturers shift production from China amid geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions.

Sept. 26, 2022

Foxconn said in a statement that it was revising downward its outlook for this quarter because of the lockdown.

“Foxconn is now working with the government in a concerted effort to stamp out the pandemic and resume production to its full capacity as quickly as possible,” the company said Monday.

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It also said that the provincial government had pledged to “fully support” Foxconn in managing the plant’s COVID-19 prevention and its operations.

In a post on the Zhengzhou plant’s WeChat social media account Sunday, the company said a “closed loop” system would restrict its employees’ travel between their dormitories and the factory area to curb risks of coronavirus transmission.

Apple revealed its next lineup of iPhones will boast better cameras, faster processors and a longer-lasting battery at the same prices as last year’s model, despite the mounting pressures of inflation that has driven up the cost of other everyday items.

Sept. 7, 2022

The last quarter of the year is typically a busy season for companies like Foxconn as they ramp up production ahead of the holiday rush.

“We are working closely with our supplier to return to normal production levels while ensuring the health and safety of every worker,” Apple said.

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