Apple's 5G iPhone 12 won't be pushed back to 2021, but future products could be delayed
The iPhone 12 is still scheduled to arrive this fall
Apple’s extensive supply chain and manufacturing facilities took a massive hit earlier this quarter. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced factories inside China to shut down for several weeks last month and only now are things returning to normal.
The heart of Apple’s entire supply chain, Foxconn, says it has resolved the recent labor shortages and is now back at normal seasonal capacity. This bodes well for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, which are expected to debut in the second half of 2020.
People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the 5G iPhone 12 series is still “on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass production isn’t slated to begin until summer.” That means a delay until 2021 is now out of the question, but it doesn’t mean there won’t be any delay at all.
The current expectation is that Apple will release the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro in early November, a timeline it adopted with the launch of the iPhone X. That represents a delay of around 1.5 months but very much falls within the fall timeline reported by Bloomberg today.
Future products might be delayed, however
The Cupertino giant is believed to be working around the clock to ensure the iPhone 12 launch goes as smoothly as possible despite the COVID-19 impact, but it appears the company could face severe disruption when it comes to launching future products.
Apple, Foxconn, and other suppliers work closely together for months or even years sourcing components around the world for new devices. It typically uses multiple suppliers for any single component to avoid potential disruptions, but an issue as big as COVID-19 can still cause major disruptions.
The products Apple is known to be working on at the moment include third-generation AirPods (also known as AirPods Pro Lite), a smaller wireless charging mat and a revised version of AirPower, the AirTags item tracking tags, and a pair of premium Bluetooth headphones that will sit above the existing Beats lineup.
It’s reportedly on track to arrive alongside the iPhone 12 series and, as such, could face a similar delay that will see it launch in November rather than September as originally intended.
Don't worry, the iPhone 9 is still coming soon
The final products Apple is known to be working on at the moment are the iPhone 9 and iPhone 9 Plus. Fortunately, these are believed to be in mass production already and shouldn’t face any major delays.
In fact, Apple executives reportedly held a meeting on Thursday to discuss the iPhone 9 launch. The company was initially planning to launch this smartphone this week before delaying it until June, but is now discussing a mid-April launch.