All major Chinese plants stand ready to crank out 2020 iPhones, Foxconn says

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Coronavirus-related shutdowns continue to disrupt Chinese factories.
Chinese factories are just starting to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Photo: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr CC

China’s production pipelines are finally getting back into full swing just in time to start building the 2020 iPhone.

Foxconn, Apple’s top iPhone assembler, says it has hired enough workers at all major Chinese plants to meet seasonal demand for iPhone production, in what could be a strong signal that the labor shortages in China caused by COVID-19 are starting to get back to normal.

The coronavirus outbreak forced Foxconn to close all of its factories in mainland China before the beginning of the Lunar New Year. Manufacturers originally eyed a reopening date of February 10 but were only operating at 50% capacity as of early March.

Foxconn issued a statement Sunday claiming recruitment goals have been reached ahead of schedule at the plants, according to Nikkei. The company also says it has implemented tough measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 55,000 workers received a PCR coronavirus test and over 40,000 got chest X-rays.

The shortage of workers caused Apple’s AirPods supply issues to worsen over the last few months. Because no new iPhones were being made, Apple temporarily restricted how many units customers could purchase. Those restrictions were just removed over the weekend.

Foxconn expects to hit peak production in July when it will be making the 2020 iPhone for release in July. The 2020 iPhones’ launch could possibly come later in the year though as the COVID-19 pandemic is currently forcing most Apple employees to work from home.

Apple is expected to release four new iPhone models this fall. The two most affordable units will be the successors of the iPhone 11 and come in two screen sizes. There will also be two premium models akin to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.