It's the number one mystery in the mobile industry right now. No, it has nothing to do with finding Waldo's location or even Carmen Sandiego's whereabouts. It's when will Apple release the 5G 2020 iPhone 12 series. Under normal circumstances, these phones would be introduced and released in September. But we don't have to tell you that these times are not normal.
Back in February when the coronavirus outbreak was making its way through mainland China, Apple's manufacturing partners like Foxconn and Wistron were shuttering their assembly lines. These firms have restarted their factories and while production of the 2020 iPhone isn't expected to start until July, Apple has to make sure that its supply chain has built enough parts and components to cover the usual number of devices being built.
Wedbush sees only a 10% to 15% chance that the 2020 5G iPhones will be launched by October
Gene Munster previously called for a regular fall launch of the 2020 iPhone models because these devices take as long as four years to go from concept to launch. This timeline was confirmed by Johny Srouji, Apple's head of Hardware Technologies. This would mean that most of the design work and supply chain planning has already been done. But we've seen other analysts state that the high-end "Pro" models might not be ready until November and others say that the phones will be pushed back into 2021.Loup Ventures'
According to SeekingAlpha, not one but two Wedbush analysts gave a prediction about the chances that Apple will release the 2020 iPhone 12 family by October. Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe told clients that there is only a 10% to 15% chance that the 5G handsets will be available by October. The pair note that the supply chain "is still on a path to normalization" (in other words, it hasn't returned to normal yet) and various countries still are dealing with lockdowns brought on by the deadly COVID-19 outbreak. The analysts say that investors are now pricing a December release of the phones into Apple's stock price which has dropped 18.7% from $327.20 on February 12th to the current price of $266.07.
Ives and Backe (sounds like a great name for a high-end tobacconist on Bond Street in Britain) believe that we might learn more about any delays on April 30th; that's when CEO Tim Cook hosts a conference call following the release of Apple's fiscal second-quarter report. Apple has already told Wall Street to expect revenue for the quarter to fall under the low end of its initial guidance range of $63 billion to $67 billion.
The man who many consider to be the best Apple analyst, TF International's Ming-Chi Kuo, expects Apple to announce four new phones this fall. There should be two standard models, the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 and the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Plus. And Kuo expects Apple to take the wraps off of two "Pro" models, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. All four will be powered by the 5nm A14 Bionic chipset each with 15 billion transistors shoe-horned inside. That compares to the 8.5 billion transistors employed inside the currently used A13 Bionic SoC and should make the new models more powerful while reducing energy consumption.
All four phones will sport AMOLED displays and are expected to feature a buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate. The "Pro" models will reportedly come with 6GB of memory. As for the camera systems, the Pro units will have Wide, Ultra-wide and Telephoto cameras along with a LiDar Time of Flight sensor for more precise depth measurements and enhanced AR capabilities. The standard models will have the Wide and Ultra-wide cameras. All four phones will be compatible with both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G signals.
Will we have to wait until 2021 to buy a 2020 5G iPhone? Alex Yang, Foxconn's investor relations chief recently told an investor's conference that even with some delays, the new iPhone units will be available during the upcoming holiday shopping season.