Many shoppers can't find Apple's latest iPhones on Black Friday
NEW YORK - Many shoppers in the United States looking for Apple’s latest high-end phones returned empty handed from its stores during Black Friday sales as the technology company struggled with production snafus in China.
Mrs Sally Gannon and her son Michael, who were visiting an Apple store in Bethesda, Maryland, found no iPhone Pros in stock.
Another shopper, Ms Abisha Luitel, wanted to get an iPhone 14 Pro for her 21-year old cousin. But it was out of stock at the Apple store she visited. She purchased an older version, the 12, instead.
The “iPhone shortages are accelerating and were front and centre this morning on Black Friday across many retailers, Apple Stores, and online channels,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note.
“We believe many Apple Stores now have iPhone 14 Pro shortages based on model or colour or storage of up to 25 per cent to 30 per cent below normal heading into a typical December, which is not a good sign heading into holiday season for Cupertino,” he said referring to Apple’s headquarters.
Shares of Apple ended down 2 per cent after its supplier Foxconn flagged on Friday that iPhone production could be further hit due to worker unrest at the plant.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. In a statement on Nov 7, it said it expected lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than previously anticipated.
Foxconn’s plant in China makes Apple’s premium models, including the latest iPhone 14 Pro, a source told Reuters. The plant has been grappling with strict Covid-19 restrictions that have fuelled discontent among workers and disrupted production ahead of Christmas and January’s Chinese New Year holiday.
At the Apple store in Bethesda, an employee said there were almost no 14 Pro and Pro Max phones in stock.
Another employee at a store in Raleigh, North Carolina said that iPhone 14s were in low stock, while the iPhone 14 Plus was completely sold out.
Analysts were expecting roughly eight million iPhones to be sold over the Black Friday weekend, down from 10 million a year ago, mainly due to supply challenges.
Wait times on Apple’s website are now up to 40 days for the new iPhone 14 Pro, which is likely to grow over the coming weeks as more consumers try to find the phones online.
Stringent measures, unrest
Meanwhile, it was reported from Beijing that Zhengzhou – the capital of Henan province, known as “iPhone city” – relocated 870 workers to a hub about 370km away in a neighbouring province, without giving them any advance notice about the measure to curb Covid-19 transmission.
The workers were transported to Xuzhou city in Jiangsu province early on Friday “without prior communications”, the city’s authorities said in a statement on Saturday on its official WeChat account. It did not say whether any of the people had tested positive.
Zhengzhou, home to Apple’s largest iPhone manufacturing site, shot to global prominence after videos emerged on social media showing hundreds of workers in violent clashes prompted by anger over unpaid wages and concern over virus infections.
The Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s main global production partner, did not reply to queries out of business hours Saturday.
Zhengzhou announced earlier this week a lockdown of its main urban areas for five days, as local officials sought to quell a swelling outbreak. - REUTERS, BLOOMBERG