We continue to hear more and more reports that the iPhone 12 may not land in September as expected, with news earlier this week from DigiTimes predicting an October launch now being confirmed by a report from a major Apple component supplier.
This latest information comes from Broadcom, a company that has been supplying key chips that go into Apple’s iPhones for years. It, therefore, lends a significant amount of credibility to the earlier reports, which have come from sources with more mixed track records when it comes to nailing down specific timelines for Apple’s plans.
According to Bloomberg, Broadcom’s chief executive officer, Hock Tan, made the reference to Apple obliquely in the company’s earnings call yesterday, referring only to “a major product cycle delay” at “a large North American mobile phone customer,” however not only does that by itself seem like an obvious pointer to Apple, but Tan has been known to frequently refer to Apple in this manner.
Tan’s comments, of course, we being made to Broadcom investors, so the focus was on reassuring them that although the company won’t be seeing the revenue it normally expects in its third quarter of this year, the money is still coming — just one quarter later than expected. “We are in,” Hock said, referring to the fact that Broadcom’s deal to supply components for the iPhone is locked in, but “the question is timing.”
Since September is at the end of both the calendar and fiscal quarters for most companies, including both Broadcom and Apple, “one quarter later” could technically mean a delay of only a single month, pushing the iPhone release into October, which is what several other reports we’ve heard recently have also been suggesting.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple will forego its usual September event, as it’s still very important for the company to get the announcements for its new products out ahead of the holiday quarter, but it could mean that the actual availability of the iPhone 12 may come later than expected — for at least some models.
As we reported earlier this week, it does appear that Apple could be focusing on having its 6.1-inch iPhone 12 available sooner than the rest. This would be a sensible move for the company since if it can have only one iPhone ready to ship in September, it naturally stands to reason that the best choice is the direct successor to what has now been the most popular smartphone on the planet for two years running.
On top of that, Apple’s “Pro” models are more sophisticated and could require more engineering resources and effort to produce, making them the more appropriate candidates for a delay.
This wouldn’t even be the first time that Apple has staggered the release of its new iPhone lineup. Back in 2017, the iPhone X was announced alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but didn’t start shipping until six weeks later, in November, and when Apple released the iPhone XR the following year, it arrived in October. In both cases, these new iPhone models used different components and manufacturing processes — the OLED screen and TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X and the Liquid Retina display on the iPhone XR — which were the likely reasons for the delays.
So it’s hard to be certain if Apple ever planned to release its entire iPhone 12 lineup at the same time even if we weren’t in the midst of an ongoing global health crisis — we’ve already been hearing about other potential reasons for delays — but certainly with that on the table, it’s not at all surprising that the company may have had to make a few unforeseen changes to its production and release schedules.