iPhone 12 Pro Navy Blue mockupSource: EverythingApplePro/Max Weinbach

What you need to know

  • Apple may delay the 5G iPhone til 2021.
  • The report cites supply chain restraints and sales viability.
  • Partners are working hard, however, to ensure the phone hits its target date.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused countless issues on Apple's supply chain, and although Foxconn is reporting that it is getting employees back to work and factories back to normal production levels, the release date of the iPhone 12 remains in question.

In a new report by the Nikkei Asian Review, sources familiar with Apple's supply chain say that the company is beginning to weigh whether or not to delay the 5G iPhone for a number of months. One source says that the discussions are still not finalized, but the phone could be delayed to 2021.

"The discussion is still at an early stage, and the fall launch is not completely off the table ... but the 5G iPhone could be postponed to 2021 in the worst-case scenario."

One of Apple's suppliers says that, while the company has historically had them begin to ship certain components by June, they are now being told to begin in August, marking a further possibility of a delay.

"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 ... the change was made very recently, and that could imply that the mass production of the phone could also be delayed for months."

Supply chain issues aside, Apple is reportedly debating whether or not to delay the phone for concern around sales given the current environment.

"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 ... they need the first 5G iPhone to be a hit."

There is, however, still hope for the phone to make it out for its normal September release. One source told the Review that "we are not giving it up yet. We are doing whatever we can to sort the issue out", while another explained ""Apple will make a final decision around May at the latest, given the fluid situation globally".