Analysts at JP Morgan, led by Gokul Hariharan, have predicted a delay in the launch and release dates of Apple’s latest flagship iPhone 12 by a month or two. The delay is attributed to hurdles in engineering verification tests, production verification test and pilot production due to travel restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The aforementioned tests are part of standard procedure before the launch of any new product introduction, for which engineers from the United States and around the world travel to China to foresee issues in early stages of development and work out their solutions before mass production of units.
Unfortunately there are other factors which might also be responsible for the delay in launch of the new iPhone 12. As the latest variant would have 5G connectivity support, analysts report that the slow growth of 5G networks in USA due to coronavirus lockdown will most likely make the company push the launch date ahead by months, if not by one or two quarters.
Apple is also dealing with production and retail issues since the pandemic. Manufactures and suppliers in Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and India had to shut down their facilities as per their governments directives, for unknown time periods and this environment of uncertainty is not good for business.
The lock downs, outside China, have not only resulted in closure of Apple Stores worldwide affecting sales, but also its target markets, USA and Europe. Mandatory isolation and social distancing are the most effective ways to stop the spread of easily transferable coronavirus. Thus, majority of in-person economic and social activities are suspended in most parts of the world. It is because of this reason that Apple reformatted WWDC 2020 as an online event.
It should also be noted that once the world is open for business after the resolution of the existing health crisis, the consumer market may not be what it was expected to be before the pandemic. For there are reasonable concerns of a global recession may result in a drastic drop in sales not only for Apple, but for many companies. Only time will tell if Apple is willing to release iPhone 12 with a new camera, notch less display and 5G connectivity in such volatile circumstances.
Having said that, there is good news for Apple’s suppliers and analysts. JP Morgan analysts also maintain that the delay will only be a couple months and not more. Thus, Apple might launch its new product in September as per schedule.
A source from one of Apple’s sensor manufactures reported that production and shipment of the parts are as scheduled and that Q1’s report was better than previous year’s, which will likely result in higher volume in Q2 than last year. Corroborating that, 9To5Mac quotes suppliers refuting news of delay in production and launch of the new iPhone 12. Taiwanese PCB suppliers say that Apple has given no indication of a delay and they are working as per schedule.
Will the 5G iPhone 12 be delayed or not, only Apple can confirm that. But we will be living in fools paradise to pretend that this horrific COVID-19 pandemic will not have a lasting impact on social, economic and political structure of the world, as people are home bound. The numbers of infected and deceased are increasing, and unemployment is rising, as the lock downs continue on and there is no cure in sight. And like the rest of the world, Apple is facing its impact too. What is more important is to see how companies like Apple pull themselves up after this crisis over.