Iphone 14 Dual Hole ConceptSource: Ian Zelbo

What you need to know

  • Apple's new iPhone 14 is expected to launch in September.
  • A new report says COVID lockdowns in China have impacted the production of one model, which is now behind schedule.
  • It isn't expected to delay the release but may make the iPhone 14 harder to get hold of at launch.

A new report says that "at least one" of Apple's iPhone 14 models could be in short supply at launch because of COVID restrictions that are impacting its production schedule.

Nikkei Asia reports today that the "development of at least one of Apple's new flagship iPhones for this year has fallen behind schedule due to disruptions from the monthlong COVID lockdowns in China."

Apple has reportedly told suppliers to try and make up for lost time, but a worst-case scenario "could impact the manufacturing schedule and initial production volumes of the new phones."

The report thankfully seems to indicate that the iPhone 14 won't be delayed like iPhone 12, and is still expected to debut in the same September launch window as its current best iPhone, the iPhone 13.

The delays have been caused by lockdowns at key Apple manufacturing sites driven by the government's strict zero-COVID policy in China. One supply chain exec said that "Apple and its suppliers are working around the clock to speed up development."

The news will be the last thing Cupertino wants to hear, having already warned that production constraints and lockdowns could cost the company $8 billion this quarter.

As per previous rumors, Apple is expected to ditch the iPhone 'mini' in favor of a new regular 'Max' variant, releasing a total of four iPhone 14 models, two 6.1-inch versions and two 6.7-inch versions, with a 'Pro' variant of each that could see a new hole-punch display, no notch, and a new processor.

According to the report, the engineering verification test for iPhone models is usually done by the end of June, in time for mass production in August/September. At least one model is reportedly three weeks behind this schedule because of lockdowns in Shanghai. There is still hope, however, one source said that it may still be possible to meet the mass production deadline.

Analysis: Will the iPhone 14 be delayed?

It seems unlikely from this report that this would cause a delay to the iPhone 14's launch schedule. Indeed, the report does not mention at all the possibility of a delayed launch, or even a deferred release whereby Apple could unveil a phone in September that is available to buy in October. The report does, however, leave a strong possibility that one of the iPhone 14 models may be much harder to get hold of when it is released later this year. The report also says "at least one", leaving open the possibility that shortages may impact multiple models.

The report cites supply chain analysts who say that "the resumption of production is not progressing well because there are still a lot of restrictions in terms of living and travel in the greater Shanghai area".