Chip shortage, China lockdown cause production delays, iPhone 14 flagship may miss Apple’s launch date

Any delay in the availability of any model is unlikely to prompt Apple to change the timing of its late-September keynote.

iPhone 14 Max delay
Analysts are also not optimistic about Apple’s suppliers making up for lost time. (File/Reuters)

Production delays stemming from an unprecedented global chip shortage could impact launch of the iPhone 14 Max, the most exciting member of the soon-to-be-released iPhone 14 family. Reports suggest Apple and its suppliers are working hard to make up for the lost time, but Covid-19 shutdowns in China have compounded the problems.

While China has started to ease its strict lockdown curbs, a Nikkei Asia report suggests that Apple could struggle to claw back the time already lost. In the worst-case scenario, Apple is staring at a loss of 6-10 million units in the run-up to the iPhone 14 launch date.

In its report, Nikkei Asia said development of at least one of the tech giant’s new flagship iPhones had fallen behind schedule due to disruptions stemming from China’s month-long lockdowns. Apple has already directed suppliers to speed up product development.

The delays are specific to the engineering verification test, the report suggests, when suppliers finalise the parts and the processes needed to start production. The schedule for Apple’s usual late-September launch requires all new models to complete the engineering verification test stage by June end. However, one model, said to be the iPhone 14 Max, is three weeks behind schedule.

Analysts are also not optimistic about Apple’s suppliers making up for lost time. They cited the restrictions still in place that could take a month or two for things to return to normality, assuming no further lockdowns were imposed.

However, any delay in the availability of any model is unlikely to prompt Apple to change the timing of its late-September keynote — it would simply advise later availability for affected model(s). Apple already set a precedent for this approach in 2017 when it announced the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. However, the iPhone X didn’t go on sale until November.

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