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iPhone Pro wait times hit new peak after factory disruptions

APPLE Inc.’ iPhone 14 Pro models are taking longer to deliver than ever as the company’ key assembly plant in China’ Zhengzhou weathers COVID lockdowns and worker unrest.

Customers buying Apple’ most premium devices in the US this year can now expect to wait as long as 37 days, according to Counterpoint Research, which monitors delivery times every year. That’ far higher than the predecessor iPhone 13 Pro family and longer than the initial launch of the current generation. Delivery days are “increasing significantly” for iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models across all markets, Counterpoint analysts said.

The Zhengzhou facility, operated by Foxconn Technology Group, accounts for most of the world’ iPhone Pro supply and houses as many as 200,000 workers during the peak holiday season. It’ been through a series of disruptions after a COVID outbreak in October, including an abrupt government-imposed lockdown and violent worker protests against restrictions and living conditions.

“The zero China CIVUD policy has been an absolute gut punch to Apple’ supply chain with the Foxconn protests in Zhengzhou a black eye for both Apple and Foxconn,” said Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities. “We estimate that Apple now has significant iPhone shortages that could take off roughly at least 5% of units in the quarter and potentially up to 10% depending on the next few weeks in China.”

Apple is now expected to face a shortfall of 6 million iPhone Pro units this year as a result of those disruptions, Bloomberg News has reported, and the company has said it anticipates longer delivery times this year. Apple and Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., anticipate making up for orders lost this quarter by catching up on production in 2023, though it’ not certain that customers will still want to buy at that time.

Counterpoint’ research is based on averaged data the firm collects three to four times per week. The current wait time in certain locations, including California, is 30 days.

“It’ unfortunate for Apple to be short of its flagship Pro series going into the holiday season, especially if buyers end up pivoting to a competing product,” IDC’ Bryan Ma said. “The good thing for Apple is that it has plenty of ecosystem stickiness to contain most of the leakage and satiate this demand in the following quarters.”

This year’ iPhone Pro models are more critical to Apple than ever, as they have been making up for sluggish demand for its regular iPhone 14 series. Counterpoint’ trackers found wait times for iPhone 14 handsets low, remaining at less than three days since launch. The company cut back its production plans for the lower-end devices earlier this month because of that disappointing demand. — Bloomberg

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