Foxconn, the maker of iPhones and other Apple products, says that some COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed at its Zhengzhou factory in China.
The factory, dubbed iPhone City because it is the world's biggest iPhone plant and the only one assembling Apple's best iPhone, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, has been in various degrees of lockdown for weeks. COVID-19 restrictions previously led to riots, with some employees seen fleeing the factory rather than being placed under restrictions.
Now, Bloomberg reports that Foxconn is ending its "point-to-point" system, one which meant that "employees had to restrict daily movements to between their dormitories and the campus." Foxconn confirmed the news via its official WeChat account, with the move coming after local authorities lifted the "high-risk COVID" status from the area around the factory.
China has been in the middle of a COVID reckoning in recent weeks, with demonstrations taking place as the population questions its zero-COVID approach. Country-wide restrictions have since eased, however. There is no longer the requirement for mandatory COVID testing in public spaces, for example.
The fate of iPhone City is an important one for Apple as well. With the factory being the only one capable of producing the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, any impact on its production lines directly affects the ability of customers to buy those handsets.
The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max were already difficult to get hold of before the issues in Zhengzhou began, with reduced manufacturing capacity then causing Apple to admit that stocks would continue to run dry. However, anyone ordering one of those models today could see it arrive within just two weeks — a timeframe that is significantly improved over the month-long wait that was in store very recently.
Those hoping to get an iPhone even sooner could try this trick, too.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.