Improvements in iPhone 14 Pro Supply and Free Stuff on Apple TV+ to Ring In the New Year

The Daily Observation Deck Feature

iPhone 14 Pros are easier to get, but some aren’t sure it’ll stay that way. There’s also a few free shows to ring in the new year.

Supply and Demand and iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max

JP Morgan Notes Increased Availability

Some potentially good news for Apple, its customers, and its investors. JP Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee says the Pro end of the iPhone 14 line is easier to get. Apple 3.0 ran part of a note Chatterjee wrote. According to that:

…a majority of SKUs are now available for in-store pickup across all geographies, including China for the first time since product launch. Lead times for the Pro models are now tracking in line with lead times seen prior to the COVID outbreak in Zhengzhou, China, suggesting that supply is improving and inching slowly towards parity with demand… 

Chatterjee does point out that supply and demand are usually much closer together this late in an iPhone Pro run. However, there was trouble building the phones recently — not sure you’ve heard. JP Morgan has an “Overweight” rating on Apple shares. The firm’s price target on the shares is $190.

Foxconn Throws Money at ‘iPhone City’

In an effort to get these crazy supply/demand kids together, Foxconn is offering bonuses to assembly people. A piece from South China Morning Post says Apple’s manufacturing partner is offering 5,000 yuan (just under US$720) for folks to work at the Zhengzhou “iPhone City” plant from 1 January through 20 March. That would have them powering through the Lunar New Year holiday and… ya know… COVID. 

Of course, there’s more to running a factory than building things. In addition to the 5,000 yuan for assembly line workers, the piece says Foxconn is also offering bonuses between 4,500 and 4,700 yuan for workers in other roles off the assembly line.

Get ‘em While You Can

What’s weird is the South China Morning Post piece doesn’t really address COVID-19 currently flying around iPhone City. A little over a week ago the site Rest of World ran a report of workers and managers at the Foxconn plant working with COVID-19 now that China has pretty much lifted its zero-COVID policies. Additionally, a piece from the Financial Times (via Ars Technica) talked of potential COVID disruptions “not just at factories, but warehouse, distribution, logistic and transportation facilities as well…” That report had “supply chain experts warning of a growing risk of months-long disruption to the production of iPhones.”

Such talk has Cult of Mac‘s Ed Hardy offering a bit of advice: If you want an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max — get it now. The way he sees it:

…it’s not wise to assume that wait times for the iPhone 14 Pro series models will soon disappear. It’s quite possible that they’ll start increasing again if Apple can’t get the devices assembled.

As was the case when supply started drying up in November, Hardy says carriers seem to have greater iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max availability than Apple itself. 

Apple Japan Offers ‘Year of the Rabbit’ AirTag in New Year Promotion

Apple’s running a few New Year’s celebration specials for people in Japan. iMore says the Cupertino-company has “unveiled a special edition AirTag to celebrate the Japanese New Year and the Year of the Rabbit.” 

Guess what the AirTag has on it… The piece says:

In order to get the special-edition AirTag, which features an emoji [of] a rabbit, customers will need to purchase an iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 12, or iPhone SE.

As promotions go, this one sounds… confusing. The piece has Apple pointing out that people who order the iPhone through the Apple Store app will not get the special edition AirTag. It’s unclear whether the offer is good in Apple’s physical stores. The iMore piece only confirms eligibility for purchases made through Apple’s site. Also, there’s a limited number of Rabbit AirTags available — 30,000. And the promotion only runs the second and third of January.

The piece says the promo also includes gift cards. People buying certain Apple kit can grab those in various denominations. They run from as low as 4,000 yen (~US$32) for a second-generation Apple Pencil to as high as 32,000 yen  (~US$240) for a MacBook Pro.

WhatsApp Ending Support for iPhone 5/iPhone 5c on 31 December

If you’re rockin’ something in the iPhone 5 line and using WhatsApp, it’ll be one or the other come Sunday. A piece from iDownloadBlog says the Facebook-owned messaging app is killing support for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c on Saturday 31 December. 

This is not part of the on/off minutes of hate between Apple and the social network. The report says that the two iPhone models are among 49 older handsets for which WhatsApp is ending support. According to the piece, the app “routinely drops support for older devices that lack the capabilities required to support the latest WhatsApp features.”

Apple TV+ Makes Five First-Seasons Free to Watch for Holidays

And finally today, if you’re not an Apple TV+ subscriber and are looking for a way to while away what’s left of the holiday, Apple TV+ can still be your friend. 9to5Mac says the Cupertino-streamer has made the first seasons of a few titles available for free through the first part of next week. Through Tuesday 3 January, season one of “Bad Sisters,” “The Morning Show,” “Prehistoric Planet,” “Ted Lasso,” and “Trying” are free to view without an Apple TV+ subscription. This is not the start of a free trial, so nothing to worry about cancelling. The only requirements are a good internet connection, either the Apple TV app or access to through a web browser, and an Apple ID.

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations podcast

TDO’s original host Jeff Gamet weighs in on what he thinks are the most important tech and most interesting tech stories of 2022… the first would take considerably more than 280 characters to explain, while the second is really spacey. Then — tomorrow — we’ll wrap the week with the Apple-related stories I personally found most important and most interesting. How shocked would you be if I didn’t talk COVID and mixed reality? Spoiler alert: Those were my choices. 

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