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Apple iPhone 14 release: Will manufacturing restrictions delay the launch?

Published May 24th, 2022 6:14PM EDT
Apple iPhone 13 Back
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The iPhone 14 series should get a September release date like most of its predecessors, but delays aren’t necessarily out of the question. We’ve seen Apple delay certain iPhone models in the past, although only the iPhone 12 launch triggered an announcement delay.

That was back in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The world was still dealing with widespread restrictions that impacted manufacturing and logistics. The iPhone 12 series was also a victim, and Apple postponed the launch event to October of that year. The iPhone 13 did not suffer the same fate, and the handset hit stores in late September last year, right on schedule.

When is the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro being released?

Apple usually unveils the new handsets in mid-September on a Tuesday. The Friday after that preorders start. A week later, preorders ship to buyers as the phone in-store release happens. The iPhone 13 had a September 14th launch event date and September 24th release date.

Following the same logic, Apple could unveil the iPhone 14 series on September 13th this year, which is a Tuesday. Preorders would start on September 16th, and September 23rd would be the phone’s release date. Usually the models sell out when preorders start being available on Apple’s site.

Any iPhone fan who purchased their handsets during preorder periods in previous years would be able to figure out this schedule. All you need is a calendar and knowledge of Apple’s iPhone launch playbook.

An iPhone 13 Pro on a table next to Apple AirPods
An iPhone 13 Pro on a table next to Apple AirPods. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

But the COVID-19 factor complicates things, even though we’re in the third year of the pandemic. China has implemented harsh restrictions in the past few months, attempting to keep the spread under control in various regions. Apple’s supply chain wasn’t spared. The Mac production line was especially hurt, although recent reports also noted that iPhone production would be impacted.

Apple announced record earnings results for the March quarter earlier this week, setting a new record on the back of great iPhone and Mac sales. But Apple also did something that might suggest iPhone 14 release delays aren’t out of the question.

The iPhone 14 release delays worries

Well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo speculated a few days ago that Apple would not provide guidance for the June 2022 quarter during the March earnings report.

He doubled down with an update on restrictions in China just a day before Apple’s March earnings report came out.

Just as Kuo had predicted, Apple did not offer any guidance for the current quarter. Instead, Apple said it expects a revenue hit between $4 billion to $8 billion. The company blamed COVID-19 disruptions, explaining that the lockdowns and supply constraints will prevent it from meeting demand. Moreover, the revenue hit for the June quarter will be substantially larger than in the March quarter.

Tim Cook did say that factories have restarted production, and cases in Shanghai have decreased over the last few days. The revenue hit is related directly to that.

Apple did not mention the iPhone 14 release while detailing the supply issues in China, but there is one reason to worry about delays. Back in 2020, Apple followed a similar pattern. It didn’t offer guidance for the June or September 2020 quarters, citing the coronavirus uncertainties.

Moreover, Apple provided an unexpected detail during the June 2020 earnings call. The company said the iPhone 12 would not be available in September, confirming the delay rumors at the time. Apple launched the handset in October.

Conditions are significantly different this year. The pandemic is in a much different place, and the expectation is that China will gradually lift restrictions. iPhone production should go back to regular schedule. Moreover, Apple has undoubtedly adapted its operations to deal with such events.

iPhone 14 Pro 3D Renders
iPhone 14 Pro 3D renders: New notch design and rear-camera. Image source: Technizo Concept and LetsGoDigital

When we’ll know

With all that in mind, there’s no indication the iPhone 14 series will see any release date delays. Also, unlike in 2020, we don’t have iPhone rumors warning about potential disruptions to the upcoming iPhone’s launch schedule.

Should conditions worsen to the point where Apple can’t unveil the iPhone 14 in September, the company will inform customers and shareholders about release delays. That would happen in July, during the June 2022 earnings call. That’s when we’ll know whether the iPhone 14 will make its mid-September release or whether we’ll see delays.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.