That’s potentially good news for Apple. When news of Covid lockdowns hit, Foxconn was set to pause operations at its Shenzen facilities. As CNBC reports(opens in new tab), that’s exactly where many Apple products, including the iPhone, are put together. Any sustained shutdown would likely impact Apple’s ability to ship iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models in the usual early fall launch window.
The newest information from Apple’s primary iPhone supplier is positive. The iPhone 14’s official release date is still unknown. However, some promising news from Asia implies that Apple’s next phone will be released in the fall. Foxconn, Apple’s key iPhone-assembly partner, claims that the Covid lockdowns in China earlier this spring had had no negative impact on the company. “The overall shutdown impact on Foxconn is fairly small,” said chairman Young Liu in a Nikkei Asia article, adding that the company’s production sites have been functioning at regular levels.
Base on our own predictions and previous rumors and leaks, the iPhone 14 could be announced September 13. And the iPhone 14 release date could hit on September 22, which would be 10 days later. Last fall, Apple began iPhone 13 sales on September 24, which is in line with when past iPhones became available. However, Apple quickly ran into supply problems, with demand for iPhone 13 Pro models particularly high. It wasn’t until the start of this year, that Apple had enough inventory on hand to meet demand. The timing of the iPhone 12 launch wasn’t ideal for Apple, either. Occurring in the first year of the Covid pandemic, that 2020 launch didn’t happen until October — and then, only the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro shipped initially. Two other models wouldn’t hit stores until November of that year.
The optimistic report from Foxconn doesn’t guarantee the iPhone 14 won’t face any delays or chip shortages. But it is an encouraging sign, especially in light of warnings from Apple earlier this spring that it expected to be hit with supply constraints during the June quarter. Specifically, Apple told investors that Covid-19 shutdowns and silicon shortages could impact sales by $4 billion to $8 billion during the three months ending this June. At the time, those shortages were mostly impacting Apple’s ability to deliver Macs and iPads to customers, but the outlook wasn’t encouraging for the iPhone 14’s prospects.
Obviously, Apple would like to avoid a repeat of that situation. It’s still not clear whether supply chains will work in the company’s favor for the iPhone 14 launch, but Foxconn’s report certainly makes us more optimistic that we’ll see new iPhones sooner in the fall than later. Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide. He’s been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He’s been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he’s been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.