In a press release, Apple confirmed that COVID-19 restrictions in a facility located in Zhengzhou, China resulted in "significantly reduced capacity." It poses a serious problem for Apple as the facility houses iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max assembly lines—the two iPhone 14 models that are proving extremely popular with consumers.

Apple says it's prioritizing the health and safety of workers, so anyone planning to get an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max for the holidays should brace themselves for potential disappointment. The Apple Store is already listing a "4-5 weeks" wait time for shipping, and that's only likely to get worse as the press release goes on to say:

"We continue to see strong demand for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models. However, we now expect 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."

Zhengzhou is home to the world's largest iPhone factory, which is operated by Foxconn and employs over 200,000 workers. In mid-October, Foxconn implemented a number of new work policies in a bid to control the spread of a fresh COVID-19 outbreak. Workers were provided with free food, but had to eat in their dorms, and iPhone workers were offered a small pay bonus and transport subsidies.

The controls and incentives weren't enough for many workers, though. On Oct. 31 they began to flee, with video footage showing workers carrying suitcases out of the facility. Foxconn also reported that 20,000 staff had been diagnosed with COVID-19. At the time, it was predicted iPhone production could drop by as much as 30%.

PC Magazine