Apple’s reportedly flat 2022 iPhone production target isn’t a great sign

Apple, one of the largest tech companies in the world, reportedly doesn’t think it will sell more iPhones this year than last year, despite rumors that the iPhone 14 will come with some major improvements (via MacRumors† While it’s not necessarily a canary in the coal mine (or a Waffle House closing) that the world will continue to get worse, Apple’s prediction that sales of its most popular product won’t grow may be a sign that the company is relatively pessimistic about the state of affairs in the near future.

According to Bloombergthe company is asking its suppliers to make about 220 million iPhones, which is similar to the number it had requested in 2021. This runs counter to some analysts’ predictions, who predicted that Apple would need to make about 20 million more phones this year than it did last year.

It’s easy to see why: The iPhone 14 Pro is expected to ditch the notch (meaning it’ll be very clear who has the new phone and who doesn’t, which wasn’t necessarily the case with the iPhone 13), and Apple’s expect to introduce a cheaper big phone. It sounds like a recipe for success.

But good recipes can be ruined if you add something gross to them. And while some of us hoped 2022 would finally mean the nightmare was over, war, ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns and skyrocketing inflation pretty much put an end to that.

Of course, Apple’s predictions are not infallible. We’ve seen a lot of reports that production has been scaled back after overestimating how many phones would be needed. It is always possible that Apple is wrong, and many people will want to buy a phone despite everything. Perhaps the masses do not see all the doom and gloom.

But it can also go the other way. Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said on Twitter that he believes that “the challenges of the iPhone 14 will come from the demand side rather than the supply side.” In other words, he thinks Apple will be able to meet its production targets (although he says it can) have some catching up to do thanks to lockdowns), but even That targets may be too high.

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