Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 12 later this fall, but the biggest question is not if, but when the new iPhones will land on store shelves.
With the coronavirus epidemic, what will Apple do this year? Will there be a delay, a staggered launch, or will Apple carry on as usual in September?
September iPhone 12 Launch?
According to Bloomberg, Apple’s 5G iPhones will still launch this fall, keeping to the company’s typical fall schedule.
Sources with knowledge of Apple’s supply chain claim iPhone production should not be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
During the worst of the epidemic in China, the iPhone was still in the early stages of development. A Digitimes report claims suppliers are still making components and have not been asked to postpone their effort.
The timing is critical as mass production wasn’t supposed to begin until May. At that point, China’s production power should be restored fully and capable of pushing out iPhones in the volume that Apple needs.
Or a Staggered iPhone 12 Launch?
Analyst Jeff Pu of Chinese research firm GF Securities was spot on with prediction that the iPhone SE would launch in April. In that same research note, Pu claims the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 will go on sale in October due to a delay in the “Engineering Verification Test” stage of development.
The iPhone 6.7-inch has been delayed and now is slated for EVT in mid-May.
PU believes Apple will stagger the iPhone launch with the 5.4-inch and the two 6.1-inch models going on sale in September, followed by the iPhone 6.7-inch in October.
A staggered launch is not ideal, but Apple has used this strategy in the past. In 2018, the company began selling the iPhone 8 in September and then launched the iPhone X in October.
iPhone 12 Delayed by a Few Months
A report in Nikkei painted a bleak picture for the iPhone 12. According to supply chain sources, there are “practical hurdles” that could push back the launch date of the iPhone 12 by “a few months.” Sources claim that travel restrictions have made it difficult for Apple engineers to visit China and provide guidance during the critical engineering and testing phases.
Commenting on whether the supply of its US-based client’s 5G smartphones has been disrupted, Liao noted that the client at the moment is having trouble visiting the factories to make direct supervision of manufacturing. As a result, the supply chain will need to have the new smartphones built without the client’s guidance.Pegatron CEO SJ Liao to Digitimes
CEO SJ Liao, CEO of iPhone supplier Pegatron, told Digitimes that the company is having difficulty with a US client that cannot visit the factories to oversee manufacturing. Liao didn’t name Apple in his statement, but it is widely assumed he was talking about the Cupertino company.
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