The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro could face an iPhone X-like delay

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro could face iPhone X-like delays
Apple iPhone 12 Pro concept render based on leaks

UPDATE: Yet another report, this time from Nikkei, has corroborated Jon Prosser's claims about delays to the iPhone 12 product development schedule. Nikkei also believes the next-gen iPhones could be delayed by "months." The updated story continues below:


There have been several conflicting reports in recent weeks, some saying the iPhone 12 is delayed and some saying the iPhone 12 is still on track. But the first scenario is today looking much more likely as even more reports have emerged suggesting Apple is behind schedule.

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The iPhone 12 series might not launch until November

As reported by Bloomberg last week, the supply chain situation is slowly improving as China recuperates from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that gripped the country between late January and early March.

That means Apple faces no iPhone 12 production delays this year, right? Wrong.

YouTuber Jon Prosser from Front Page Tech, who has an increasingly solid track record, claims Apple is actually facing a two-month delay that could see the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro released in November, much like the iPhone X in 2017.

The reason for this being that Apple requires executives travel to China each year to oversee the final stages of prototyping and select the version that will be released. This isn’t typically an issue, but the COVID-19 travel restrictions in place since late January have stopped that from happening this year.

Apple is effectively two months behind schedule at this stage. Moreover, the company “absolutely refuses” to do the product verification through a conference call and insists on being there in person, hence the iPhone 12 delay mentioned above.

J.P. Morgan and Nikkei agree with this timeline

Corroborating Prosser’s claims is a recent note to investors from J.P. Morgan (via Apple Insider). In it, analyst Gokul Hariharan says Apple has already signed off on the 5-nanometer A14 Bionic chipset design, which should start production very soon.

He does, however, expect some sort of delay to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro devices because of prototyping. Hariharan believes the first engineering verification tests (EVT) will be completed for the iPhone 12 series in April, a couple of months behind schedule.

Production verification tests and pilot production tests are then reportedly scheduled for late June, also behind the typical production schedule.

Like Prosser, Hariharan now believes shipments won’t start until October or November because of these recent developments.

Nikkei, on the other hand, claims some key component suppliers have been notified to start shipping in big volumes to meet Apple's new launch schedule by the end of August. This differs from previous years when Apple has asked suppliers to be ready for shipments in June. 

A person with direct knowledge of the matter told Nikkei that Apple isn't "giving up yet" and is doing whatever it can to "sort the issue out." Discussions are still in the early stages and a launch in fall 2020 is still on the table, although the worst case scenario could force Apple to delay the 5G iPhone until 2021.

There's more bad news about the iPhone 12

By this time of year, Apple has typically selected the final design of its next iPhone lineup and finalized most of the specifications and features. Some small things can still change, but that usually means that leaks are increasingly accurate.

Unfortunately, the delay being experienced this year means that all of the recent iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro leaks could be far less accurate than usual. In fact, the information that has already leaked likely comes from a mix of several prototype models.

As such, those of you waiting for the next-generation iPhone lineup may have to wait a couple of months before the leaks start painting a more accurate picture of Apple’s iPhone 12 series.

The same goes for the design. Last year, Steve Hemmerstoffer leaked the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro in late April and early May. The coronavirus (COVID-19) impact means that this year that probably won’t happen until late June or early July.

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