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iPhone customers face longer wait for new handset

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In an unusually upfront admission, Apple said on Sunday that customers planning to buy an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max face longer wait times for their order due to COVID-19 restrictions impacting one of its key assembly facilities in China.

In a message on its website, Apple said that COVID precautions at its primary, Foxconn-run iPhone assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China, have led to “significantly reduced capacity.”

As a result, it now expects “lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated and customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products.”

It added: “We are working closely with our supplier to return to normal production levels while ensuring the health and safety of every worker.”

China’s famously strict zero-COVID policy is continuing to impact businesses and livelihoods across the country, with tech firms’ supply chains experiencing disruption whenever a COVID-19 outbreak occurs inside or close to a manufacturing plant.

Apple’s admission follows what has reportedly been a chaotic period at the factory, located about 380 miles southwest of Beijing, after a worker tested positive for COVID-19 last month. As Foxconn attempted to impose a lockdown at the factory, reports began to emerge of dwindling food supplies and a lack of adequate medical help, prompting some of the site’s 300,000 or so workers to flee the sprawling campus, which includes employee dormitories and other facilities for daily life.

In a marked shift away from relying on China as its main manufacturing hub, Apple recently started producing its latest iPhone at a new facility in India, which is also run by Foxconn.

Apple has been assembling older smartphones in India since 2017, but the recent change sees the country as home to a facility producing the tech giant’s very latest handsets. Analysts believe India will become a global iPhone manufacturing hub by 2025.

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