Protests at iPhone assembly plant could cost Apple billions


Protests at iPhone assembly plant could cost Apple billions
Millions fewer iPhone 14 Pro units are supposedly going to be produced because of worker complaints about living conditions at the assembly plant.
Graphic: Cult of Mac/Daily Loud

Protests at a Foxconn plant in China where the two iPhone 14 Pro models are assembled will allegedly cut deeply into the supply of these handsets. Millions of units that would have been produced in 2022 without the protests supposedly now will not be.

Workers clashed with police during recent COVID-19 lockdowns at the plant, known as “iPhone City” due to its strategic importance to Apple.

Millions fewer iPhone 14 Pro units produced

iPhone components come from all over the world. However, most of the ones intended for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max arrive at Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou, China, for assembly. A government-mandated lockdown intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — which is sparking protests across the country — is causing utter chaos at the facility.

Production continues, but Foxconn requires employees to stay in on-site dormitories and never leave the plant. Last week, thousands of employees protested over working conditions and pay disputes.

As a result of the disruption, the Foxconn plant will assemble 6 million fewer iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max units in 2022 than originally planned, according to Bloomberg. The publication cites an unnamed “person familiar with assembly operations.”

Considering the minimum cost of an iPhone 14 Pro is $999, the reduction means billions in lost revenue for Apple.

iPhone assembly chaos means long wait times

Early in November, Apple warned consumers that assembly problems would lead to long wait times for the two iPhone 14 Pro models. The prediction quickly came true. By the middle of November, it was already too late to order one of these handsets for pre-Christmas delivery.

As it stands now, an order placed on Nov. 28 from Apple’s online store for a base model iPhone 14 Pro won’t be delivered until December 28 at the earliest. With iPhone assembly problems ongoing, that date could slip further.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.