iPhone 14 Pro supplies hang in the balance with world's biggest factory in meltdown

iPhone 14 Pro Max Deep Purple and iPhone 14 Pro Space Black
(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory, the world's biggest iPhone plant and the only one to assemble Apple's best iPhones, is in meltdown. And it's suggested that those hoping to pick up an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max could be impacted.

With the supply of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max already struggling to keep up with demand, Foxconn's 300,000-worker factory in Zhengzhou is in the midst of riots and ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns. Now, it's thought the unrest will further harm customers' chances of picking up a new device this holiday season.

Bigger problems than iPhones

An NPR report notes that the clashes between workers and security forces at the factory dubbed iPhone City are likely to make it even harder to pick up a new iPhone,  with those Pro models likely to be the worst hit. With workers already concerned that they would miss out on promised bonus payments, it's also thought that there was a COVID-19 aspect to the riots as well.

"They were upset about quarantine rules, conditions in the factory and then, generally, feared catching COVID, NPR's Joh Ruwitch reports. While Foxconn now says it has fixed a computer glitch that delayed bonus payments, that isn't the only concern. Ruwitch says that the workers were "also animated by these rumors that they were being forced to live and work with others at the factory who actually had COVID-19." Foxconn denies that was the case.

While not being able to buy an iPhone this Christmas will no doubt make gift-giving an issue for some, it's of course important to remember the conditions these workers have had to deal with. Reports of trash piling up, lack of food, and poor living conditions have become all-too-regular for a company so heavily relied on so heavily by Apple and other tech companies.

Oliver Haslam

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.