Apple may be considering delaying 5G iPhone 12 launch by months

Expectations are that Apple is going to launch new iPhones, rumored to be the iPhone 12 lineup, in September of this year. But a new report throws some shade on that idea.

According to a report from Nikkei, Apple is currently mulling over the idea of delaying the impending launch of the 5G-enabled iPhone 12 “by months”. That’s based on information gathered by the publication from unnamed sources familiar with the company’s plans.

Based on the “current situation” (the global coronavirus pandemic), Apple executives have held internal discussions regarding potential iPhone sales, and just how well they might do all things considered. Throw in the possibility of other hurdles that supply partners could face in the months ahead, the possibility of a delay appears to be growing.

Supply chain constraint aside, Apple is concerned that the current situation would significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones, which could lead to a tame reception of the first 5G iPhone,” said a source with direct knowledge of the discussion. “They need the first ‌5G iPhone‌ to be a hit.”

Nikkei points out that travel restrictions that Apple has put in place for certain regions, along with similar rules put in place by other companies, have impacted engineering development of the 2020 iPhone lineup. Apple allegedly wanted to see a prototype of the new iPhone sometime in early March, but that did not pan out. Suppliers believe a delay “is looming” due to the point of an engineering and development that Apple currently finds itself.

Apple is currently monitoring the continued spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, determining whether or not a delay of its next iPhone lineup would be prudent. A decision in this regard could be made in May, but, even if it does happen behind-the-scenes, it’s unlikely that any type of official announcement would be made at that time.

Mass production schedules have been deferred by up to three months:

We have been notified to start shipping in big volumes to meet Apple’s new product launch by the end of August, instead of like in previous years, when it would be sometime in June,” said a supplier of components related to printed circuit boards. “The change was made very recently, and that could imply that the mass production of the phone could also be delayed for months.”

One of the sources said that this is not set in stone by any means, and Apple is apparently asking supply partners to work to make up for the delays that have already impacted the process up to this point.

It will be interesting to see what happens with any new iPhone models that might see the light of day later this year.