Apple's iPhone 9 launch might be back on as mass production begins
UPDATE:Jon Prosser has revealed that the iPhone 9 will be ready "logistically" in April. However, the lack of demand at the moment means Apple is instead targeting a launch in June. The updated story continues below.
Last week, Apple reportedly took the decision to delay the iPhone 9 for up to six months because of weak demand in the smartphone market. But after further analyzing the situation in recent days, Apple has reportedly had a change of heart.
The iPhone 9 has finally entered mass production
Initial iPhone 9 production is believed to have started in late February, around two weeks behind schedule due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdowns across China. Things went as planned and it was set to be followed by mass production in early March, yet this never happened.
The aforementioned demand issues ultimately forced Apple to halt the crucial production phase at the last minute. According to Jon Prosser, however, mass production of the iPhone 9 is now back on the table as part of a massive U-turn.
One of the key iPhone 9 selling points will be the powerful A13 Bionic chipset that is also used inside the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. Apple apparently wants to use this to its advantage when it comes to marketing the smartphone to consumers.
The A13 Bionic is currently Apple’s newest and most powerful smartphone chipset. That will still be the case in summer, but delaying the iPhone 9 until then would give Apple only a few months to boast about it in marketing campaigns before the A14 Bionic debuts in September.
Delaying the iPhone 9 until September, on the other hand, means the budget smartphone would launch with an outdated chipset. This, in turn, would make it seem like a less compelling package to consumers.
This thought process, according to one of Jon Prosser’s reliable sources, is why Apple has now changed course and decided to proceed with the iPhone 9 launch in the near future as originally planned.
Apple is working with a new supplier to speed things up
Apple typically relies on Foxconn and Pegatron in addition to an extensive parts supply chain when it comes to iPhone production. To ensure it can meet demand at launch despite the mass production delay, though, Apple is said to be working with BYD in China to “spread out production and move faster.”
There’s no word at the moment on the exact launch schedule Apple is now aiming for. The company was initially targeting an unveiling on Tuesday, March 31, and a release the following week, but this will no longer happen.
Jon Prosser believes Apple is now working towards unveiling and releasing the smartphone in June, perhaps around WWDC 2020. By then, most Apple Stores across the globe should have reopened, something that would undoubtedly boost demand at launch.
Apple iPhone 9 features, pricing, release date
For those of you that aren’t yet aware, the entry-level iPhone 9 with 64GB of storage is expected to retail at $399 in the United States and the 128GB version will reportedly cost $449 at launch.
Customers will gain access to an iPhone 8-like package that includes a 4.7-inch LCD display paired with thick bezels and a physical home button that integrates Touch ID. A single rear camera, potentially borrowed from the iPhone XR or iPhone 8, is to be expected too.
Leading the way on the inside is going to be the A13 Bionic, as mentioned above, coupled with 3GB of RAM and iOS 13.4 straight out of the box.
If the 4.7-inch model is too small, rumor has it Apple is developing a large iPhone 9 Plus-like model with a 5.5-inch display. It’s unclear if it will launch alongside the standard model or at a later date, but the specs should be largely the same and pricing could start at $499.