The iPhone 14 isn't far from launch, but we're hearing multiple reports that supply chain problems are going to make some models harder to get than others, and that's disconcerting for me.
The latest such report was recently posted by display industry analyst Ross Young to his Twitter super-followers: according to Young, panel shipments for the new iPhone 14 Max model are "still way behind through August". The issues aren't affecting the similarly named but higher specification (and much more expensive) iPhone 14 Pro Max, though: Young says there are three times more displays for that iPhone 14 than for the iPhone 14 Max.
We've been hearing about supply chain issues for the iPhone 14 since the spring, when it was reported that Apple's new front-facing camera setup was causing some problems. While the global semiconductor shortage seems to have finally passed, it's clear that even a small change to the iPhone's specification has the power to cause issues – and the display in the iPhone 14 Max is a new one. Unlike the 120Hz ProMotion displays in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, the iPhone 14 Max is expected to get a basic 60Hz panel instead.
Will Apple delay the launch of the iPhone 14 Max?
It's possible. But I suspect what Apple would rather do is prioritise some markets over others. The iPhone 14 Max is apparently built with the Chinese market in mind, because that's a market where larger phones sell better. Apple may decide to devote the lion's share of the Max to that market, either limiting the supply or introducing longer lead times in markets such as the US where the Max is less likely to be a big hit.
I imagine the supply issues are a bit of a double-edged sword for Apple here: on the one hand it means fewer Max buyers in the foreseeable future, but the lack of big Max phones may persuade more people to buy the more expensive and more profitable iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max phones instead.
We'll see how this all shakes out in September, when the iPhone 14 launch date is likely to be announced. But on the basis of what we know so far, if you're hankering for an iPhone 14 Max you'll want to get your order in as soon as you can.