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China’s lockdowns could pose problems for the iPhone 14

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 14 is facing supply chain issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some experts believe this could lead to a slight delay in the rollout of the phone series, according to a report from Nikkei Asia.  While Apple has weathered storms with ease in the past, sight delays with the iPhone 12 and 13 launches show that the company is not entirely immune to market pressures.

The bottleneck here stems from local lockdowns in Shanghai, instituted to slow down the spread of a resurgent COVID in China. As a result, Apple’s suppliers in the region have had to slow down their efforts and shut down production sites. Already, Apple had seen delays hit iPads and Macs, but iPhones still remain the company’s crown jewel and were somewhat insulated by a later release cycle. Apple’s suppliers in Shanghai have slowed down their pace in developing this year’s iPhone as a result of the pandemic restrictions, and the company isn’t entirely pleased, urging them to increase the pace to make up for those shutdowns.

“It is challenging to make up for the lost time. … Apple and its suppliers are working around the clock to speed up development,” one executive told Nikkei.

“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 was quoted as saying. “But it really depends on whether the process can accelerate soon.”

Apple isn’t prone to supply chain issues to the same degree some other companies are. While Google or Samsung may see phone launches pushed back for months, or even outright canceled, Apple’s mastery of the supply chain and its sheer scale means that it receives priority from suppliers. At the same time, sometimes it becomes physically impossible for the company to source as many parts as it would like due to widespread issues like COVID. The iPhone 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini saw delays, and while the iPhone 13 was predicted to see issues, in the end it suffered minimal disruption.

Apple is expected to debut the iPhone 14, 14 Max, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max this September. Should there be no significant delays, all devices should be shipping shortly afterward to buyers.

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