On November 21, the power plant received news from Apple’s upstream screen supplier that limited by the recovery of Foxconn’s production capacity in Zhengzhou and consumers’ willingness to buy, iPhone 14 Plus production has been suspended and production capacity will be used for the iPhone 14 Pro series.
The iPhone 14 series released this year can be said to be the most ill-fated generation of iPhones, and it is also the generation of iPhones with the strangest supply chain problems.
The iPhone 14 Plus has sufficient stock in both online and offline stores, but no one cares about it; the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are still hard to find today, one month after they went on sale, and the existing stock in the market even has a price increase the trend of.
But this kind of “ice and fire” different models have problems in the upstream and downstream at the same time, which is a thorny challenge for Apple. In Apple’s fourth-quarter earnings call in October, Apple admitted that it was already reducing the production capacity of the iPhone 14 Plus and using its original production capacity to increase the iPhone 14 Pro series.
Another factor that affects the sales of the iPhone 14 Plus is that Apple has also raised the price of the iPhone globally this year, further reducing the competitiveness of the iPhone 14 Plus, which should have been the main cost-effective product, and even recorded a sales record higher than that of the iPhone 13 mini series at its first launch. The lower result also allowed Apple to speed up the pace of reducing the production capacity of the iPhone 14 Plus and switching to support the iPhone 14 Pro series.
However, the fate of the iPhone 14 Plus, which was originally only “reduced production”, has taken a turn for the worse recently: In addition to Apple’s request in October to internally reassess the market demand for the iPhone 14 Plus, this week DSCC CEO and analyst Ross Young even said that the iPhone 14 The shipment of Plus series screen panels will approach zero in December.
An Apple screen supply chain manufacturer revealed to the power plant that it has confirmed that it supplies iPhone 14 Plus screens with special specifications and has significantly reduced production since late October. This is also consistent with the earlier The Information report that Apple had notified several suppliers in October to suspend production of the iPhone 14 Plus and asked the “purchasing team to reassess the demand for this product”, and it is also in line with outside estimates. The production capacity of iPhone 14 Plus has been reduced to 20%.
But apart from the above reasons, the iPhone 14 Plus will not end up completely discontinued.
In addition to the supply chain capacity problems that have spread since last year, a more fatal blow occurred in October-the production capacity of Foxconn in Zhengzhou was greatly reduced due to the epidemic. The actual impact of this incident on the production capacity of the iPhone 14 series is unknown to the outside world, but according to Bloomberg’s estimates, the entire incident may eventually cause a 30% decline in iPhone production.
Now, Foxconn’s internal epidemic has been brought under control at this stage. The Zhengzhou and Henan governments have started to help Foxconn solve the short-term recruitment difficulties. Foxconn even offered employees a daily attendance subsidy of 400 yuan, and the full attendance bonus in November exceeded 15,000 yuan incentive policy.
But for Apple, the sudden disappearance of nearly 30% of its production capacity in the short term is already an irreversible situation.
In other words, even though the iPhone 14 Plus still has some production capacity today, it is only one step away from the actual discontinuation of production; before Apple is a multiple-choice question: iPhone 14 Plus or iPhone 14 Pro, which one should be given up?
Why is the iPhone 14 Plus out?
The product idea behind the iPhone 14 Plus is actually not difficult to understand. In essence, this is a product that Apple hopes to replicate the sales miracle of the iPhone 8 Plus.
In 2017, even under the aura of the release of the iPhone X, which bears the meaning of the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, the iPhone 8 Plus, with its affordable price and excellent reputation, still achieved unimaginable sales, reaching the level of the iPhone X three years ago. double the market share.
Today, the iPhone 8 Plus is still the iPhone that many users use every day. Therefore, the iPhone 14 Plus restarted this series after five years, obviously targeting this part of users and the market share that Android flagship phones have eroded in recent years.
However, the actual performance of the launch of the iPhone 14 Plus proves that the market clearly does not accept the answer given by Apple: the iPhone 14 Plus uses the same A15 Bionic series SoC as the iPhone 13 series, and its appearance and functions almost maintain the same style as the previous generation.
In addition, the appearance/function of this generation of iPhone 14 Pro series has made innovations including smart island and always-on screen display. Compared with the two parties, the iPhone 14 Plus looks like the iPhone 13 Plus, which comes from the previous generation. Product——This is quite a fatal problem for smartphones whose trendy attributes have already occupied the main purchasing factor.
In addition to its own factors, the iPhone 14 Pro series is in short supply in the market, which is another reason for accelerating the decline of the iPhone 14 Plus.
Although China’s Double 11 has ended, for the global, especially the European and American markets, the annual shopping season, the Christmas season and “Black Friday” have just begun.
For many European and American consumers, it has been a tradition for many years to buy iPhones for family and friends at this time. Therefore, including Apple’s official and various operator channels, they will give the new iPhone the most powerful promotions in a year.
But the premise of all this depends on the sufficient stock supply of iPhone 14 Pro.
According to the current status of Apple’s US official website, even if Black Friday has not yet started (starting on November 25th) , if you place an order for the iPhone 14 Pro immediately, you can only receive it on December 29th at the earliest-this time has passed Four days of Christmas this year. And if you buy the iPhone 14 Pro through other telecom operator channels, you may even have to wait until next year for delivery.
This is difficult for most ordinary users who want to buy an iPhone as a Christmas gift, and the blow to users’ willingness to buy can be imagined.
But this situation did not come out of nowhere: recently, Apple has also rarely issued a press release on its official website to warn investors and consumers: Due to the local restrictions on the prevention and control of the new crown epidemic in Zhengzhou, the production of the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max will be restricted. “Significant impact”.
The iPhone 14 Plus is cold in the market, and the serious production capacity problems encountered by the iPhone 14 Pro in the supply chain are hindering growth. The ebb and flow, coupled with the extremely valuable production capacity, forces Apple to “choose one of the two”: Temporarily abandon the production of iPhone 14 Plus, and make every effort to ensure the normal supply of the iPhone 14 Pro series during Black Friday and the Christmas season.
But in fact, this decision is not a dilemma: After all, the iPhone 14 Pro, which directly increases the average profit margin of the iPhone and is currently seriously out of stock, and the iPhone 14 Plus, which has weak omni-channel sales and has stockpiled offline, are more important. Pretty obvious.
But even if the production of the iPhone 14 Plus is completely stopped now, it is not conclusive for the time being, and the iPhone 14 Plus is considered to be a work doomed to failure.
According to Apple’s past practice, even if a model is completely stopped at the moment, the previously purchased components will not be consumed in a short period of time. In addition to the existing production capacity of the iPhone 14 Plus, Apple will provide iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max ” In addition to “emergency”, it can also decide whether to restart the production line based on the changes in iPhone 14 Plus sales in the future.
According to data released earlier by DSCC, Apple’s iPhone 14 series screen purchases in 2022 will still exceed 10% in 2021. Although the main contribution to the growth is still the screen specifications of Pro / Pro Max, it is also confirmed from the side. The current coldness of the iPhone 14 Plus in the market has further reduced the demand for inventory accessories, and eventually evolved to the complete discontinuation of production today.
At the same time, even if the iPhone 14 Plus is currently discontinued, it does not mean that the iPhone 14 Plus production line is really closed forever: even the two generations of the iPhone 12 mini / 13 mini, which are considered to be “sales on the street” by the outside world, are still in production. Reached more than 10 million actual sales. When a single model reaches this sales base, whether it is the supply of subsequent after-sales parts or the demand for complete machine replacement, the production line is required to continue production for several years.
According to Apple’s consistent product planning several years in advance, even if the iPhone 14 Plus reappears sluggish market feedback like the iPhone 12 mini, the release of the iPhone 15 Plus is now almost a certainty.
At present, Apple still has a variety of tools in its hands to enhance the market competitiveness of the iPhone 14 Plus-the most direct and effective method is of course price reduction . Here is a reference: the market was cold at the beginning, but after the product was released, the price was lowered several times to make the iPhone XR popular again on the consumer side.
The price reduction gradually highlights the cost-effective iPhone XR, and there is also an evaluation of “the lower the price, the narrower the frame”.
But in any case, the ill-fated fate of the iPhone 14 series this year will continue for some time now. As for the iPhone 14 Plus, which has temporarily died down, the failure caused by its product positioning seems to have long been doomed.
The iPhone 14 Plus that “plays big and plays super big” may really be out of play.