Apple is preparing for the possibility of launching its next iPhone, likely dubbed the iPhone 12, much later than anticipated.
According to a report by Nikkei, citing sources familiar with the matter, the company has internally discussed delaying the launch by “months.”
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has strained Apple’s supply chain, but Apple is considering the delay for other reasons, too. One of Nikkei’s sources said that Apple’s not keen to risk a potential “tame reception” of what would be the company’s first 5G iPhone.
Many Apple employees currently work from home due to shelter-in-place orders, which also may affect Apple’s plans. Nikkei’s sources say Apple might reconsider the iPhone 12 launch timing once those orders are lifted, with the final decision coming around May.
The discussions are in an early stage, sources say, and it’s still possible that the phone launches in the fall. But it’s also possible that the launch is delayed into next year.
Apple typically launches new iPhones in September, which boosts sales in the holiday quarter, and the company surely won’t change the iPhone’s launch date lightly. As Nikkei notes, this would hurt not only Apple’s revenue but also millions of jobs in Apple’s supply chain. But the worsening coronavirus outbreak is an unprecedented situation, and suddenly the impossible seems possible. Apple declined Nikkei’s request to comment.
It’s worth noting that Apple just recently launched a slew of new products, including the new iPad Pro and MacBook Air, without an event of any kind (Apple does a few of these event-less product launches every year). On the other hand, the company was widely rumored to be launching an affordable iPhone towards the end of March, and that event is now almost certainly off the table. Finally, the company’s WWDC conference has been turned into a digital-only event.
COVID-19 – the disease caused by coronavirus – has so far killed more than 18,500 and infected more than 416,000 people. The outbreak has been worsening in the U.S. in recent weeks, with more than 65,200 confirmed cases and 928 deaths.