The iPhone 9 could face delays for a very unexpected reason

The iPhone 9 could face delays for a very unexpected reason
UPDATE: Apple has acknowledged "the uncertainty" around the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The company has started "restricting travel to business critical travel. For employees that are in the Wuhan area, we are providing care kits and supplying them across our employee population in China as well."

Apple also issued a wider-than-usual quarterly guidance range of $4 billion for the current fiscal quarter, which is a direct result of the possible disruption caused by the outbreak. The original story continues below.


Apple is preparing to start mass production of the new iPhone 9 next month ahead of the smartphone’s international debut in late March. But according to Bloomberg, the company could face some major supply chain issues soon.

The coronavirus could be a serious issue for Apple

China has recently been struggling to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has so far infected over 4,400 people and caused more than 100 deaths in the country. The epicenter – Wuhan, central China – is situated around 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Apple’s biggest manufacturing bases, but there seems to be a growing risk of disruption. 

The Pegatron site Apple uses for iPhone production, for example, is situated a short distance from Shanghai. A total of 66 coronavirus cases and one death have been registered over the past week in that area.

Foxconn’s so-called iPhone City plant, on the other hand, is situated in Zhengzhou, Henan. That province has also confirmed one death, although the number of cases stands at a substantial 168.

The situation is being closely monitored, but the number of confirmed cases continues to rise and the government may force factories to temporarily close in an attempt to prevent further contamination.

Industry analyst Patrick Moorhead says he “can’t imagine a scenario where the supply chain isn’t disrupted. If there’s one major hiccup in the raw materials, fabrication, assembly, test, and shipping, it will all be a disruption.”

Wedbush Securities said “supply chain disruption is a worry if employees across Foxconn and other component manufacturing hubs in China are restricted. If the China outbreak becomes more spread it could negatively impact the supply chain which would be a major investor worry.”

iPhone 9 production may be severely impacted

Despite being well-prepared for major supply chain issues, the vast majority of iPhone assembly still happens in China. A shortage of local workers could, therefore, be detrimental to its smartphone business.

Apple is in the process of increasing iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro production to help meet global demand, but it likely has a large number of units stockpiled already which should minimize the short-term disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The biggest potential issue, however, is the budget iPhone 9, which is expected to be announced in late March. The smartphone hasn’t yet entered mass production and any worker shortages over the coming weeks will undoubtedly limit supply at launch, although the extent largely depends on how the outbreak progresses. 

Apple iPhone 9 features, specs, and price

For those of you that aren’t yet aware, the iPhone 9 is expected to blend the iPhone 8’s exterior with several iPhone 11 internals.

That means customers will gain access to a 4.7-inch LCD screen paired with thick bezels and a Touch ID home button. The high-end Apple A13 Bionic chipset will replace the iPhone 8’s A11 Bionic and RAM will be bumped from 2GB to 3GB. 

Rumor has it the phone will feature the iPhone 11’s main camera and it will, of course, ship with iOS 13 straight out of the box. Unfortunately, though, no major upgrade is planned in the battery department – Apple will be reusing the iPhone 8’s 1,821mAh cell.

The iPhone 9 should hit shelves the final week of March with a price tag of $399. Apple is reportedly preparing to discontinue the $449 and $549 iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus upon its arrival.

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