Apple warns on iPhone production, major league ad plans for Major League Soccer, and a little Apple TV+ news.
Apple Warns on iPhone Production
While no time is a good time to have planned production disrupted, heading into the holidays is a decidedly bad time — and it got decidedly worse on Sunday. We’ll start with what Apple’s plans were reported to be, then see where we are now.
Spoiler: It’s not great.
Two reports had Apple and a couple of manufacturing partners working to increase production in the wake of either a slowdown or a stoppage at the world’s largest iPhone factory — the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, China. That’s kind of been a thing. You can catch Friday’s episode of “Mac OS Ken” or my “Observation Deck” post on The Mac Observer over the weekend for a recap.
Foxconn’s Largest iPhone Assembly Plant Still Under Lockdown
Between COVID related disruptions and tensions between the US and China, we’ve heard for a while now that Apple was interested in ramping up production outside of China. Now, the two reports I mentioned, have Apple looking to India, and quickly. The first comes from TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Last week he ran a string of Twitter posts saying that Foxconn’s planned production-slowdown was itself being put on-hold because of COVID-related disruptions. He also said that more than 10% of global iPhone production had been affected by the Zhengzhou plant going into “closed-loop” mode. And finally, the analyst said that Apple was “discussing with Pegatron and Luxshare ICT to switch iPhone 14/14+ production lines to 14 Pro/14 Pro Max.” Over the weekend, the analyst followed that series of Twitter posts with one, lone update:
My latest survey indicates that Foxconn will accelerate the expansion of iPhone production capacity in India after Zhengzhou iPhone plant’s COVID-19 lockdown.
Other Supply Chain Partners Chip In, In India
If you’re wondering where that leaves Pegatron and Luxshare — well, you’re out of luck on one of those. The other though, may be taking up some of Foxconn’s slack. A report from Bloomberg (via Gulf News) says “Pegatron Corp. has begun assembling [Apple’s] latest iPhone 14 model in India.” Reading the lines (and between them) it seems the report is referring to iPhone 14 specifically — not the 14 Plus, nor the two Pro models. Referring to the production move, Bloomberg says:
It comes at a time when Apple’s key iPhone Pro manufacturing hub in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou — operated by Foxconn Technology Group — was placed under an abrupt Covid-19 lockdown by authorities.
The piece also points out that “Foxconn began making the iPhone 14 in India in September…” Stringing the Bloomberg report together with Ming-Chi Kuo’s post, it seems somewhere between possible and likely that Apple is getting Pegatron to make iPhone 14 in India so that Foxconn can stop making iPhone 14 in India. That would or could free Foxconn up to start making iPhone 14 Pro in India, taking up some of the slack generated by the shutdown in Zhengzhou.
Apple Issues Warning on iPhone 14 Pro Production
Cool as it would be, it does not sound like this is going to take care of iPhone 14 Pro availability any time soon. Apple issued a press release Sunday that is bound to make no one happy. It is short. Allow me to share the whole thing:
Update on supply of iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA COVID-19 restrictions have temporarily impacted the primary iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max assembly facility located in Zhengzhou, China. The facility is currently operating at significantly reduced capacity. As we have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prioritizing the health and safety of the workers in our supply chain.
We continue to see strong demand for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models. 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.
We are working closely with our supplier to return to normal production levels while ensuring the health and safety of every worker.
“…I’m just waiting on a phone…”
Kind of made me wonder what waits look like at this point. Doing my usual thing — checking the one phone I would want if I was in a buying mood, a Deep Purple, 256GB, Carrier Unlocked, iPhone 14 Pro Max would theoretically be getting to me between Dec. 8 and Dec. 14 if I’d ordered on Sunday.
A Time for Giving (and Taking Back)
Apple’s out with its 2022 holiday gift guide. Not surprisingly, the Cupertino-company thinks the people on your list would like stuff sporting an Apple logo, or accessories for such stuff.
MacRumors writes up Apple’s press release on the gift guide, which isn’t all about things. While the release does focus on iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more, it also emphasizes experiences, served by Apple Services. Among them:
- Sharing photos through an iCloud Shared Photo Library
- Catching the Christmas spirit on Apple Music
- Watching Spirited and various holiday specials on Apple TV+
- And getting “a jump on your New Year’s goals with Fitness+
That last one’s totally uncool. We haven’t even dealt with the gluttony of Thanksgiving yet.
Along with the emphasis on giving, an allowance for added returns from Apple. A separate piece from MacRumors says Apple has announced its 2022 extended return policy.
According to the report, in Australia, Canada, the UK, the US, and “select other countries,” items purchased between last Friday 4 November and Sunday 25 December can be returned as late as Sunday 8 January 2023 (terms and conditions apply). “In a few other countries like Italy, Spain, and Japan,” the piece says the purchase window is wider, running from last Friday until January 6, 2023. That lengthens the returns window to 20 January 2023 in those regions.
Bloomberg: Apple Plans Ad Network for All MLS Games
Apple has major advertising plans tied to the streaming rights for Major League Soccer. That is the word from Bloomberg, by way of The Verge. That’s the 10-year-deal Apple signed earlier this year to be the home of MLS starting in February 2023. According to Major League Soccer’s promotional page on the Apple tie-up:
- Some regular matches will be available for free
- Some regular matches and Leagues Cup matches will be available to Apple TV+ subscribers at no additional cost
- A “new MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app” will offer access to every “MLS and Leagues Cup match,” as well as select MLS NEXT and MLS NEXT Pro matches
As for the ad network, the Bloomberg piece indicates that “Apple plans on including ads for all MLS viewers, including season pass holders…” While I’ve not seen NFL Sunday Ticket (a service to which many have compared Apple’s MLS offering), I do know that NHL Center Ice has all of the ads local affiliates carry. Sort of makes selling ads against paid sports content less than a surprise.
YouTube Kills Unofficial WWDC Videos Channel
If you like the idea of watching a bunch of old WWDC video — golly, you should have been on YouTube last week. This week, it’s all gone.
AppleInsider says Apple archivist Brendan Shanks has had both his personal YouTube account and his Apple WWDC Videos channel killed by the streaming giant. In fairness, the videos were owned by Apple and it apparently took “multiple takedown requests” before the content was nixed. Eventually though, it was nixed.
Fair. And yet, totally uncool.
Apple TV+ Announces Limited Theatrical Run for ‘Sharper’
An upcoming Apple TV+ thriller will get a limited run in theaters. AppleInsider says the Juliane Moore/John Lithgow film Sharper will premier in select theaters on Friday 10 February 2023. According to Apple’s press release:
…“Sharper” unfolds within the secrets of New York City, from the penthouses of Fifth Avenue to the shadowy corners of Queens. Motivations are suspect and expectations are turned upside down when nothing is as it seems.
AppleInsider figures the theatrical release is in hopes of garnering an award or two. While that release date will mean a miss for the 2023 Academy Awards, the February release date is still in time for consideration for the UK’s 2023 BAFTA film awards. Technically, it would also be eligible for the 2024 Oscar season, but being remembered come Oscar time a year later seems pretty unlikely.
If you’d rather watch it for the $6.99-per-month you’re already paying rather than the $16-whatever they charge at the theater, you’ll not have long to wait. Sharper will hit Apple TV+ one-week later — Friday 17 February.
Apple TV+ Makes a Few Lawrence Films ‘A Limited Time Subscriber Bonus’
And finally today, Jennifer Lawrence is getting the Sidney Poitier treatment from Apple TV+. When the Sidney Poitier documentary Sidney hit Apple TV+, the Cupertino-streamer made a number of films starring Poitier available to subscribers at no additional cost — not forever, but for a limited time.
Last Friday, Apple premiered Causeway — a drama starring and produced by Lawrence. And now, five of her biggest films are available “as a limited time subscriber bonus.” Not a lot of range to the titles. As of Sunday night, available films included the four movies in the “Hunger Games” series and Silver Linings Playbook.
I’m not saying they’re bad movies. I actually like all five. Just … not a huge range. But you know — they’re included with the cost of Apple TV+. Plus, it might be worth keeping an eye out. Over the course of their run, the number of included Poitier titles grew from five to close to ten.
Not saying it’ll happen again, but worth keeping an eye out.