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Apple could face iPhone 12 delays because of the coronavirus outbreak

Apple could face iPhone 12 delays because of coronavirus outbreak
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are expected to debut in September at Apple’s annual hardware event. But according to a new report, the next-generation flagships may be at risk of falling behind schedule.

Apple can't complete a crucial stage of development

The recent coronavirus outbreak has caused several factory shutdowns in China and even led to the cancelation of MWC 2020 in Barcelona. Sources speaking to DigiTimes (via MacRumors) claim the virus has also forced Apple to stop sending specialized engineers over to China.

These employees were reportedly tasked with assisting with the crucial Engineering Validation Test (EVT) stage of iPhone 12 development in which Apple finalizes the design and ensures everything reaches its standards.

Apple recently restricted travel to China to “business critical” purposes and it’s unclear when the aforementioned engineers will be able to return. DigiTimes believes these delays will severely impact the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro’s schedule.

Production of new iPhones typically starts in mid-June before a planned increase in August to prepare for the September launch. This year, Apple is expected to miss its June target, which means certain iPhone 12 series models could be in short supply at launch.

The company is, nevertheless, unlikely to delay the official unveiling, which will probably take place on September 8.

The iPhone 12 lineup should include four models

The iPhone 12 lineup is going to consist of four models. These should include two iPhone 12 Pro models and two iPhone 12 devices, one more than this year.

Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, on the one hand, will reportedly feature 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch OLED displays respectively. These should be paired with slimmer bezels and a more powerful Face ID system.

A triple-camera setup much like the one featured on the iPhone 11 Pro series is expected, although this year an advanced 3D sensing system that will improve portrait photography and the AR experience should make an appearance.

As for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Plus, both smartphones are expected to featured OLED displays rather than LCD panels. The bezels should match those on the iPhone 11 Pro and the screens reportedly measure in at 5.4-inches and 6.1-inches respectively.

The rear of these devices, on the other hand, looks set to include an upgraded version of the iPhone 11’s dual-camera setup.

The iPhone 9 will arrive months before the iPhone 12

Before the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, Apple is going to release the budget iPhone 9. The smartphone is scheduled for March and will now be (partially) manufactured outside of China to ensure a sufficient level of supply at launch.

Apple was planning on starting mass production in China this week, but the recent coronavirus outbreak has forced halted manufacturing at several facilities, which has reportedly pushed Apple to switch strategy.

DigiTimes reports the company is now preparing for production in Taiwan, where the coronavirus has not made significant impact. At the time of writing, there are 33 confirmed cases in the country, drastically lower than the 44,687 cases in China.

The iPhone 9 is going to retail at $399 and will offer the iPhone 11’s powerful A13 Bionic chipset in an iPhone 8-like package. Customers will gain access to a 4.7-inch LCD display coupled with a trusty old Touch ID home button and single rear camera.

Also expected is Apple’s latest iOS 13 software pre-installed and a tiny 1,821mAh battery. Thanks to the more efficient chipset, however, battery life should be marginally better.

The iPhone 9’s debut is expected to coincide with the discontinuation of both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Rumors suggest a larger iPhone 9 Plus based on the iPhone XR will debut in early 2021.

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Related phones

Apple iPhone 12 mini specs
  • Display 5.4 inches 2340 x 1080 pixels 60Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A14 Bionic 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2227 mAh
  • OS iOS 14.x
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max specs
  • Display 6.7 inches 2778 x 1284 pixels 60Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 12 MP (Triple camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A14 Bionic 6GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3687 mAh
  • OS iOS 14.x
Apple iPhone 12 Pro specs
  • Display 6.1 inches 2532 x 1170 pixels 60Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 12 MP (Triple camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A14 Bionic 6GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2815 mAh
  • OS iOS 14.x

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