iPhone 14 production threatened by yet another COVID-19 lockdown

Hand waving goodbye to an iPhone 14 Pro
(Image credit: Joe Wituschek)

Those struggling to get their hands on a brand-new iPhone 14 might continue to do so, with Apple's supply chain hit with a new COVID-19 lockdown.

Reports of a COVID-19 outbreak were already coming out of Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory in China, but a new report says that the entire Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone — the industrial park where the factory is located — is now in lockdown. The move comes after a local governor urged tighter restrictions in the area amid ongoing COVID-19 struggles.

Infections rising

Amid ongoing reports of employees fleeing the Foxconn factory for fear of being infected, the wider industrial park has now been locked down in an attempt to wrangle control of a virus that threatens to impact iPhone production yet further.

A Wall Street Journal report says that the lockdown began at noon on November 2 in an attempt to deal with a “severe and complicated” spread of the virus. Henan Gov. Wang Kai, during a visit Tuesday, told officials that they had to work to ensure that COVID-19 protocols were being adhered to.

Foxconn had already put a closed loop in place, with employees eating and sleeping in their dorms to avoid congregating in group areas. The company has also increased bonuses in an attempt to ensure that workers remain in place too.

Apple's iPhone 14 lineup has been on sale for a little over a month at the time of writing, with stock shortages continuing across most models and configurations. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said that the company was working to make it easier for customers to buy a new iPhone, but the ongoing COVID-19 situation in China will harden his resolve to move manufacturing capacity outside the country where possible.

It was reported earlier this year that Apple was looking to expand manufacturing beyond Chinese borders with situations like this in mind.

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.