It looks like Apple has canceled a March press event it never announced thanks to the growing novel coronavirus crisis, which has now been called a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. With SXSW, Coachella, and other large-scale events canceled or postponed around the world, Apple's decision is almost certainly a sound one. After all, the last thing the company wants to do is risk putting would-be attendees in harm's way.
Yes, they are fun, but Apple's March events don't often happen, although they have become a regular occurrence in recent years. However, the biggest news here isn't the canceling of the unannounced event. What's most important moving forward is what the cancellation means for Apple's new hardware products that were supposed to arrive this month.
Apple relies heavily on China to produce most of its gadgets. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis at the beginning of the year in Wuhan province, China, this reliance has cost the company dearly. And though China's communist government says the worst of the disease is behind it, time will tell whether this is correct. Coupled with Apple's more recent decision to close retail stores in places like Italy, it's clear the situation remains fluid, at best.
At the March event, Apple should have debuted a long-rumored iPhone SE and iPad Pro. I don't expect either will see the light of day (through a press event or release or otherwise) until Apple's confident it can get those products in stores in sizable numbers worldwide. This delay isn't just bad news for Apple and its customers. Accessory makers and carriers are also affected. Then one has to look at the rest of the 2020 calendar and begin wondering how product delays now will influence the release schedule of other Apple devices such as the "iPhone 12."
The best-case scenario sees the coronavirus threat decreasing in the coming weeks as the Northern Hemisphere begins experiencing sustained warmer temperatures. If that's the case, Apple's manufacturers will get back on schedule, causing no further delays after this month or next.
If the virus remains dangerous around the world, heading into summer, all bets are off. By that point, Apple's going to have to set some priorities. No doubt, under that scenario, the iPhone 12 takes precedence over everything else. Even earlier, Apple will need to decide whether to cancel its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) or make it streaming-only.
Regardless, these are challenging times. Hopefully, the virus won't spread much further, and things will get back to normal soon.
What should Apple do about new products in the face of the coronavirus? You know what to do below.