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Many buyers can’t find Apple’s latest iPhones on Black Friday

By Hilary Russ and Siddharth Cavale

BETHESDA, Md./NEW YORK (Reuters) – Many shoppers looking for Apple’s latest high-end phones returned empty-handed this Black Friday as the tech company struggles with manufacturing problems in China.

Among them were Sally Gannon and her son Michael, who visited an Apple Store in Bethesda where they found no stock of the iPhone Pro.

Similarly, Abisha Luitel wanted to buy an iPhone 14 Pro for her 21-year-old cousin. But the Apple Store she visited was closed. She instead bought an older version, the 12.

The “iPhone shortage is accelerating and took center stage at many retailers, Apple Stores and online channels this Black Friday morning,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note.

“We believe that many Apple Stores are now experiencing shortages of iPhone 14 Pro based on model or color or stocking up to 25% to 30% below normal towards a typical December, which does not bode well for the holiday season in Cupertino is,” he said, referring to Apple headquarters.

Apple’s shares fell 2.0% after a source at its supplier Foxconn told Reuters on Friday that iPhone production could be further impacted due to workers unrest at the plant.

Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment on Friday. A statement on Nov. 7 said it expects fewer iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than previously expected.

Foxconn’s factory in China makes Apple’s premium models, including the latest iPhone 14 Pro, a source told Reuters.

The plant, the world’s largest Apple iPhone factory, has been grappling with tough COVID-19 restrictions that have fueled worker discontent and halted production ahead of Christmas and the Lunar New Year holiday in January.

At an Apple store in a mall in Bethesda, Maryland, an employee said there were almost no stock of the 14 Pro and Pro Max. Another employee at a store in Raleigh, North Carolina, said that iPhone 14s are running low on stock while the iPhone 14 Plus is completely sold out.

Sally Gannon said that she and her son are now inclined to order the iPhone online. She said an Apple store employee told them a phone ordered online would be delivered on December 28.

US electronics chain Best Buy earlier this week warned of shortages of high-end iPhones in its stores this holiday season.

Wedbush’s Ives expects around 8 million iPhones to be sold over Black Friday weekend, up from 10 million a year ago, largely due to supply shortages.

And if you choose to shop online, the wait on Apple’s website is now up to 40 days for the new iPhone 14 Pro, which is only set to grow in the coming weeks as more consumers seek iPhone Pros to buy as gifts Find.

(This story has been corrected to correct the attribution in paragraph 6.)

(Reporting by Hilary Russ in Bethesday, Maryland and Siddharth Cavale in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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