The release of Apple’s highly-anticipated 5G iPhone 12 may be delayed until 2021 as a result of the massive disruption of the coronavirus on the company’s production schedule and shifting global demand.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Apple has already discussed internally the prospect of delaying the next iPhone release, usually in September, by several months which could push the launch to early 2021.
Apple has been seriously impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak which brought the Chinese factories including Foxconn, where the majority of the company’s products are produced, to a standstill.
Even when production was eventually ramped up again, there were also problems with the supply chain to source components for the iPhone which also added to the shortage and delay.
But Nikkei Asian Review also says another factor that could delay the release of the 5G iPhone is how it would be received following the worldwide economic upheaval and rising jobless rates.
Apple’s main concern is the customer intention to upgrade their phone could be significantly lower in the current circumstances and in a weakened economy.
Already a year behind other companies like Samsung, Oppo and Huawei who are already offering 5G handsets to customers, Apple needs its first 5G iPhone to be a huge success.
If Apple sticks to its regular September launch window, the worry is that demand from customers who are still reeling from the coronavirus crisis might not be there.
Price-wise Apple’s 5G iPhone will be at least the same price as the iPhone 11 Pro (From $1,749) and iPhone 11 Pro Max (From $1,899) but it is likely to be higher in Australia because of the weaker Australian dollar against the US currency.
The coronavirus and the subsequent travel restrictions have also impacted the engineering development of the 5G iPhone and the device testing.
Before any phone is deployed on an Australian network it must be tested and approved for use.
That testing is also likely to be delayed and could give Apple another reason to delay the 5G iPhone launch even further.
Component supply for an iPhone release normally ramps up in June but this year those volumes won’t be able to be met by August at the earliest, according to the Nikkei Asian Review report.
This factor alone could result in the 5G iPhone being delayed for months.
Apple will reportedly make a final decision on the launch date of the 5G iPhone in May.