Apple’s new flagship iPhones might come a little later than usual this year.
A Wall Street Journal report claims the company is pushing back mass production of iPhone 12 by about a month.
It’s unclear how exactly this delay will affect the new iPhone’s launch. Apple’s phones are typically launched mid-September, but the company ramps up mass-production in the early summer and has an inventory ready in August. This year, the report claims, Apple will be building “some” of the new iPhones from July to September, with the production ramp-up coming a month later than usual.
This could mean a number of things: Apple might launch the iPhones in September, as usual, but have them arrive on the market a month later. It could also have a bit of a staggered launch, with some models arriving on the market earlier than others (this happened in 2017, when the iPhone X arrived two months later than the iPhone 8). Or it could just postpone the launch altogether.
The WSJ’s report echoes other recent reports in saying that Apple plans to launch four iPhone models this year: a 5.4-inch phone, two 6.1-inch phones, and one 6.7-inch phone, all of them featuring OLED displays.
The main reason behind the delay is the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down much of Apple’s supply chain in China in January. The factories have since reopened, but Apple’s stores outside of China are still closed as numerous countries imposed lockdown orders in order to slow down the spread of the virus. The WSJ report says the pandemic has also disrupted the way Apple develops the iPhone, with engineering teams having to guide Chinese colleagues through prototype assembly via video calls.
The reports on the iPhone 12’s launch time have been mixed so far. In March, Nikkei claimed that Apple has discussed delaying the launch by “months,” both due to the constraints in the supply chain and potentially weakened demand. A few days later, a Bloomberg report said Apple still plans to launch the phones “in the fall.”
In April, Apple launched the new, $399 iPhone SE without a dedicated event, roughly two weeks later than many reports originally assumed. That iPhone, however, is likely far easier to produce than the iPhone 12, as it shares many parts with the iPhone 8.