Three months ago, Apple was reportedly considering the postponement of 5G iPhones until 2021 as the result of waning consumer demand and factory lockdowns. Now that factories have reopened, the Cupertino giant is pressing suppliers to expedite component shipments so that it can make up for lost time.
Back in April, industry insiders learned that mass production of Apple’s new iPhone 12 would be delayed by one month due to disruptions in the supply chain for essential components. Foxconn at the time insisted that everything would go as originally scheduled as long as component suppliers could make their deliveries on time.
However, according to a new report from Nikkei Asian Review, delays are no longer something that Apple can avoid. After multiple factory lockdowns and workplace restrictions, the most optimistic delay is estimated at two weeks, with some experts saying that iPhone 12 production could be pushed to early October.
The new estimates are in line with the Wall Street Journal’s April report that said mass production of the new iPhone 12 would face a one month delay since further testing is still needed before the company can settle on a final design.
Nikkei says that Apple and its suppliers are working around the clock to keep delays at a minimum. And since the company typically announces new iPhones in September, this would mean the new handsets won’t be available at launch.
Before the pandemic Apple had told suppliers to expect over 100 million iPhone 12 orders, but these expectations have been revised several times over the last few weeks. Apple is now aiming for 80 million orders of the new rumored 5G handsets and has also placed orders for 45 million units of older iPhones — some of which are made in India — to keep sales volume high throughout the second half of 2020.
In related news, it looks increasingly likely that the new iPhone 12 lineup will ship without a charger or EarPods in the box. This combined with a 20 percent dip in global smartphone demand might lead to Apple pricing its handsets more reasonably this year.