Development of at least one iPhone 14 model is three weeks behind schedule due to the lockdown in China and, at worst, could affect initial production volumes, according to a new report today.
Despite an easing of restrictions, the impact of lockdowns in and around Shanghai, which began in late March, are said to have had an ongoing impact on supply chains, according to sources spoken to Nikkei Asia.
“It is a challenge to make up for lost time. … Apple and its suppliers are working around the clock to accelerate development,” said an Apple supplier executive, adding that the pace of reopening in Shanghai is “pretty slow.”
Apple has reportedly urged suppliers to accelerate product development efforts to make up for lost time before the delay impacts the typical manufacturing schedule, which could later impact initial iPhone 14 series production volumes.
Apple is expected to launch four new iPhone models this year. After lackluster iPhone 13 mini sales, Apple is offering larger “iPhone” sizes for its 2022 flagship devices: a 6.1-inch iPhone 14, a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro, a 6.7- inch iPhone 14 Max and a 6.7 inch iPhone 14 Pro max.
It’s not clear which model is directly affected by the delays caused by the lockdowns. Currently, all four iPhone 14 models are in the Engineering Verification Test or EVT development phase Nikkei‘s sources. Normally, all new “iPhone” models complete the EVT and enter the verification phase by the end of June.
After the development phase of the new iPhones, Apple’s primary assemblers Foxconn and Pegatron will enter a phase known as New Product Introduction (NPI) where the manufacturing process for the latest designs will be outlined. NPI will be followed by several verification processes before mass production begins, typically around the end of August.
“If we can speed up the development process and move to the next stage towards the end of June or early July, then it should still be possible to meet the series production deadline in early September,” said another person familiar with the matter. “But it really depends on whether the process can accelerate soon.”
Production is said to have been hampered by living and travel restrictions that still apply in the greater Shanghai area. Operations across the supply chain in China have not yet returned to normal, despite an easing of restrictions in Shanghai and neighboring regions.
Chiu Shih-fang, a veteran supply chain analyst at the Taiwan Institute for Economic Research, said Nikkei The situation may affect not only production, but also the development of new products. “It would take at least another month or two for the supply chain to recover,” Chiu added.