What you need to know
- Apple's iPhone PCB suppliers say they haven't received any notification about delays to the iPhone.
- It has recently been reported that Apple is considering delaying the release of the next iPhone.
- Industry sources seem to suggest that production is on track.
A report from DigiTimes claims that 5G iPhone PCB suppliers have not received notification of a delay to the device, in spite of reports that Apple is considering whether to delay the product's release.
On March 25, a report from Nikkei Asian Review suggested that supply chain restraints and sales viability were factors Apple were considering as part of potential plans to delay the launch of the 5G iPhone, currently pegged for a Fall 2020 launch. From that report:
"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."
Over on Twitter, Jon Prosser has previously also suggested that the iPhone 12 will be delayed.
Though supply chain is improving, the iPhone 12 will still likely be delayed.— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) March 24, 2020
Prototyping for iPhone 12 isn’t even done yet. It requires execs from Apple travel to China, and due to travel bans, they haven’t been able to finalize.
Expect iPhone 12 in Oct/Nov
As Prosser notes in this thread, his sources seem to suggest that the iPhone 12 will "likely" be delayed. Tying into this story, he notes that mass production is currently scheduled for May as per usual, "but it's just not going to make it.". Overall, he says that the iPhone 12 is "2 months behind schedule."
These reports do all seem to fit together. Both Prosser and then previous supply chain sources seem to have suggested that a delay to the iPhone 12 seems likely. This latest DigiTimes report states:
Apple PCB suppliers dismiss speculation about 5G iPhone delay: Taiwan's PCB makers in the supply chain of 5G iPhones have denied reports claiming they have been asked to postpone volume production by two months in line with a likely launch delay for Apple's new-generation devices amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to industry sources.
However, as mentioned, Jon Prosser stated 3 days ago that production is currently scheduled to proceed as normal, which might indicate that a firm decision is yet to be made, or that the message is yet to be passed on to supply chains. Even if Apple's supply chain is facing disruption or delay, there is still the possibility that Apple could launch/announce the iPhone in advance of a release, perhaps bridging the gap between consumer anticipation and supply chain constraints.
Jon Prosser has also noted that travel disruption is preventing Apple designers and engineers from traveling to its supply chain partners in order to finalize critical design decisions, meaning all iPhone 12 renders and leaks currently making the rounds are probably an amalgamation of lots of different prototypes, as the final design has not been signed off.
A separate DigiTimes report regarding Pegatron also seems to confirm this:
Although Pegatron's sales in the first quarter of 2020 have been hampered by the coronavirus epidemic, most of the company's orders have only been deferred to the second quarter of 2020. With clients also placing orders for their new products for the second quarter, Pegatron expects its performance to return to the growth track in the quarter.
Commenting on whether the supply of its US-based client's 5G smartphones has been disrupted, Liao noted that the client at the moment is having trouble visiting the factories to make direct supervision of manufacturing and as a result, the supply chain will need to have the new smartphones built without the client's supervision.
Regarding delay to a 5G handset it states:
As for the market rumor that the client's 5G smartphone development has also been seriously delayed because of the pandemic, Liao noted that both the client and supply chain players at the moment are mainly looking to shorten the front-end processing work for the handsets.
Apple isn't mentioned by name, but it's highly likely that's what is being referred to.
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