This wouldn't be the first time Covid has derailed Apple's schedule. The iPhone 12 was announced in October 2020, a month later than Apple usually launches its new iPhone, due to the pandemic. While Covid-19 cases are much lower globally than during the height of the pandemic, the virus is still very much with us, with parts of China enduring fresh lockdowns under the regime's 'zero-covid' policy.
Parts of Shanghai were locked down in late March, and while restrictions have since eased, the supply chain disruption goes on.
Shanghai's re-opening has been described by one Apple supplier as "rather slow". Apple has reportedly told suppliers to speed up production to make up for the lost time.
The firm has already warned that lockdown restrictions in China have disrupted the production of current iPhone models. It could cost Apple up to $8 billion in revenue this quarter alone.
One iPhone 14 model is reported to be about three weeks behind schedule. While the report doesn't name which of the four new iPhones that is, it's believed to be the iPhone 14 Max, the only all-new variant in the line-up.
The iPhone 14 Max is rumoured to have the same specs as the iPhone 14, but with the same-size screen as the iPhone 14 Pro Max. It's widely believed to replace the iPhone Mini variant seen in the iPhone 12 and 13 ranges.
However, being behind schedule doesn't necessarily mean the iPhone will be delayed. Mass production isn't set to start until the end of August or first week of September, so Apple still has some wriggle room.
"If the development process can be sped up and proceed to the next level around the end of June or beginning of July, then it should still be possible to meet the mass production deadline of early September," one person familiar with the matter told Nikkei. "But it really depends on whether the process can accelerate soon."
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