Like the previous years, Apple will launch a new iPhone series, probably called the iPhone 14 series, in the fall of 2022. While we're still months away from the official announcement, a lot of information about Apple's 2022 flagship smartphone series has already leaked. Rumors suggest that both the iPhone 14 Pro models are set to gain a lot of upgrades, such as a 48MP camera, dual-punch hole cutout, new A16 Bionic chipset, and much more.
While the whole tech industry is looking forward to the iPhone 14 series, a number of recent reports have suggested that we might have to wait a few months more than expected before Tim Cook takes the stage and announces the 2022 iPhone. This isn't due to any setback in the development of the iPhone but mostly due to the COVID-19 situation in China.
Earlier this week, a report claimed that Apple supplier Foxconn had increased hiring for its factories in order to avoid such a situation. However, South China Morning Post now reports that Foxconn has halted the hiring process as the Chinese government has put the city of Zhengzhou — a place where one of the largest Foxconn iPhone factories is located — under a lockdown in response to the new COVID outbreak.
This is extremely concerning news for Apple as Zhengzhou's Foxconn factory is the world’s largest iPhone production plant. The city is even called the "iPhone City" sometimes. While the Zhengzhou government has avoided putting any restrictions on the Foxconn factory — mostly because it will disrupt the whole worldwide iPhone supply chain — the city government has just announced a week-long lockdown in the wake of discovering fourteen COVID-19 cases.
BOE and the iPhone display fiasco
In addition to the COVID-19 delays, another factor that could delay the launch of the iPhone 14 models is that Apple has ruled out BOE as a display supplier. Apple, for the first time with iPhone 13 series, had shortlisted China-based supplier BOE to provide OLED display panels for the 2021 iPhone series. However, The Elec (via Apple Insider) reports that BOE had arbitrarily changed the design of OLED panels without informing Apple about it.
BOE claims that it had simplified the design of the display circuit to speed up the pace of production and fulfill Apple's orders. The company said that it had "expanded the circuit width of the thin-film transistor," which led to faster display production and would've allowed it to produce more iPhone display panels. However, Apple ordered BOE to halt the display production and cut ties with the Chinese display supplier upon finding this.
Even though Apple has shortlisted BOE as a display supplier for the iPhone 14 series, as per multiple reports, the company could look to offer the contract to LG and Samsung, given the situation with iPhone 13 OLED panels. If the company hands the contract to other suppliers, it could delay the iPhone 14 as the number of display providers will go down.
How does it affect Apple and us as consumers?
Well, for Apple, such a piece of news is extremely concerning. For the Cupertino giant, even a small delay can result in the loss of millions of dollars, let alone a delay of this scale. In fact, Apple's Zhengzhou plant had been ramping up production (to keep the supply of iPhones normal) when other cities were put under a lockdown. But now, the largest iPhone production line has been directly affected due to lockdown. Subsequently, the situation could have a knock-on effect on the availability of the iPhone 13 series and the iPhone 14 series when it launches later this year.
The delay also affects us, the consumers, in one way or the other. The lockdown and COVID restrictions mean that Apple could be forced to delay the iPhone 14 by a few weeks. If you're looking to buy the latest iPhone this fall, you might just have to wait a few more weeks. The recent Shanghai and Kunshan lockdowns have also shown us how even a small supply chain disruption can delay the availability of products by months — shipping dates of a few iPad and MacBook models on Apple's website have slipped to July of this year. Moreover, to recover the loss, the company could launch the iPhone 14 models at higher prices than last year.
The whole situation, more importantly, raises a question about Apple's dependency on China. Due to such incidents, the company has looked at other countries, such as Vietnam and India, to spread iPhone production all around the world. But, as Bloomberg reported earlier this week, Apple's reliance on China has "caused headaches for the company, investors, and consumers during the pandemic." The company could face huge repercussions if it doesn't find a permanent solution to this problem soon.
Apple iPhone 13
The iPhone 13 is the default smartphone from Apple for 2021. If you're looking for an experience that remains fast and fluid over years to come and not lacking on any hardware front, this is the device to get.