The smartphone industry has taken a massive hit due to the coronavirus. Now, one of its biggest manufacturers, Apple, is feeling the effects. Due to disruptions caused by the virus and lockdown measures around the globe, it is delaying the launch of its flagship iPhone 12 lineup by about a month.
Apple typically starts ramping up its iPhone production in the early part of the summer to prepare for September launches. Although the official iPhone 12 lineup hasn’t been announced, rumors suggest that four new models will arrive this fall—including at least one with 5G capabilities.
The announcement of the iPhone 12 delay comes just weeks after Apple unveiled the budget-friendly iPhone SE. That model has enjoyed an impressive launch so far. At just $399, it’s hard to beat the value.
However, adding another phone to the mix isn’t helping Apple release its newest flagship devices.
Back in February, Apple CEO Tim Cook warned that the company would likely have some of its plans impacted by the fallout of the coronavirus. In a companywide virtual meeting earlier this month, he emphasized that the pandemic is a “stressful moment” but that Apple remains in a strong financial position.
While it doesn’t need to fear going bankrupt like some other companies the iPhone 12 appears to be getting the brunt of the pandemic. Per a Wall Street Journal report, Apple is forced to “push back the production ramp-up” of new devices. It cites manufacturing delays in its Asian facilities and “weakened global consumer demand.”
When Will the iPhone 12 Arrive?
In light of the delays, many are wondering when the newest iPhone will arrive. On one hand, it isn’t like the delay will push it back by that much. However, it could greatly affect what the iPhone 12’s release window looks like.
Instead of a late-September timeframe, many expect that the new flagship devices will arrive in November. Some say that an early-December launch window may be more realistic. To be clear, these dates are nothing more than industry speculation as Apple hasn’t officially made any announcements. Still, it tends to be pretty predictable with its product launches.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple was projecting an uptick in sales for its iPhone 12 lineup. That’s partly due to the fact that it is rumored to support 5G. If those whispers are true (and they almost certainly are) then the iPhone 12 will be the first iPhone that is compatible with the faster network.
Given that Apple has seen a decrease in consumer demand for its phones over the past several years, it was likely banking on many people deciding to upgrade this year for 5G capabilities. A delayed release alongside the wider economic impact of the coronavirus could change those projections for the worse.
If there’s one saving grace, a late-November, early-December launch would put the iPhone 12 well within the holiday shopping picture. Although it will have to compete with other high-end gadgets like the new Xbox Series X and Sony’s PS5, consumers will always flock to Apple devices around the holidays.
For now, though, taking things one day at a time seems to be the best plan. Just don’t count on hearing any supply chain updates from Apple regarding the iPhone 12. Any news about its release will likely come just a few weeks before it actually hits store shelves.