Customer inspects iPhone 14 Pro Max inside an Apple store in Marunouchi, Tokyo.
Stanislav Kogiku | SOPA Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images
IPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max ship times in the U.S. have started slipping past Christmas, according to Apple’s website and financial analysts.
The long wait times suggest that people who order a high-end iPhone now might not have the device in time for the gift-giving holiday, potentially hurting Apple’s fourth-quarter sales.
“We believe iPhone risks are increasing ahead of the all important Black Friday / Holiday selling season as wait times in the US are extended at ~34 days,” UBS analyst David Vogt wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, checks by CNBC on Apple’s U.S. website showed a shipping date of Dec. 27 for several iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models.
“While wait times had steadily moved higher in the prior surveys, the most recent data has hit an extreme level in our view,” Vogt wrote.
Sometimes Apple mails products before their estimated ship date, and some retailers such as wireless carriers might have more stock than Apple.
However, Apple’s less expensive iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have no wait times on Apple’s website and can be purchased immediately, which suggests that some consumers might decide to trade down in order to get their devices under the Christmas tree on time.
The elongated wait times come after Apple gave an unusual warning earlier this month that Covid restrictions at a Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, China, would result in “significantly reduced capacity.”
“However, we now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated and customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products,” Apple said.
The Zhengzhou facility is sometimes called “iPhone City” because it is where a lot of Apple’s final assembly for its devices is done. It’s been grappling with lockdowns under China’s zero-Covid policy, which resulted in labor issues as some workers are operating under a “closed loop” where they isolate in dorms and factories separated from the outside world.
Foxconn said earlier this month that it was working with the “government in concerted effort to stamp out the pandemic and resume production to its full capacity as quickly as possible.”
The Zhengzhou facility accounts for 80% of total iPhone production capacity, Jefferies analyst Kyle McNealy said in a note on Wednesday, citing Counterpoint Research.
He estimates that Apple would lose about $1 billion in revenue and $0.01 in EPS for every week the facility is locked down. Analysts expect $125.9 billion in sales during the December quarter, according to FactSet.
“It’s prudent to take a conservative approach to modeling the recent COVID related manufacturing
disruptions given such a large part of Apple’s footprint is in the affected region,” McNealy wrote.
— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this story.