Report: China delays Foxconn plans to restart iPhone production due to ongoing coronavirus concerns
The Chinese authorities have told Foxconn that it cannot open its iPhone production factories on February 10, as reported by Nikkei.
Reuters previously said that any additional delays would have a significant impact on Apple’s iPhone sales. The company depends on Foxconn factories to assemble iPhones in the quantities it requires; if the company can’t make them, Apple can’t sell them.
Local governments are reportedly concerned about the proximity of employees in factories like Foxconn, expecting a high risk of contagion.
Apple Stores are also remaining shut for longer than initially expected, with Apple telling employees that most Chinese stores will now re-open on February 15. In a statement, Apple said that “our first priority is the well-being of our teams, supplier partners and customers across China”.
However, Apple is ultimately a business and the impacts on its financials are concerning investors. Apple reported a wider-than-normal guidance range for the next quarter to account for coronavirus disruption, but some analysts are worried Apple will have to cut its estimates further with the continued delays to iPhone and Apple device production (AirPods supply is also particularly at risk).
In a late January report, Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple has a handful of new products that it wants to launch in the first half of this year — from the iPhone SE 2 to AirTags and a new wireless charging mat — but the closing of China factories and design offices may mean that some of these product launches will have to be pushed back. This compounds the issues regarding supply constraints of Apple’s existing product lines.
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