• Apple’s iPhone 12 release may be pushed back as far as December.
  • The economic impact of the coronavirus may prompt Apple to delay the iPhone 12 release even if supply chain issues can be addressed.
  • Apple will reportedly make a decision about the iPhone release date in May.
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I know it’s a narrative that we hear every year, but the iPhone 12 was truly poised to be a monumental release for Apple. Especially in light of the fact that iPhone sales have been somewhat stagnant over the past few years, it was widely assumed that the iPhone 12 — the first iPhone with 5G support — was going to help boost year-over-year sales.

The coronavirus, however, may completely upend Apple’s plans. While it’s safe to assume that Apple will release the iPhone 12 in 2020, a September release is no longer a guarantee for a few reasons. For starters, there are questions as to whether or not the supply chain can sufficiently get up to speed in time for a September release. Second, travel restrictions involving China may have slightly pushed back milestones in the iPhone 12 development process.

Another issue to keep in mind is that unemployment in the U.S. is at an all-time high, which is to say that many people may not care about a new iPhone even if Apple manages to launch it in September.

In light of all this, a new research note from Wedbush analyst Dan Ives articulates that Apple will most likely delay the iPhone 12 release by a few months. And while this might see the iPhone 12 roll out sometime in October or November, Ives notes that a December 2020 release is also on the table:

While mass production of iPhone 12 would not likely start till the May timeframe, the pre-planning, design coordination, and normalizing component shortages in the supply chain make the Fall timeframe a very difficult one to hit for starters. Taking a step back, having one of its most important iPhone launches in its history into a consumer environment still recovering from the impact of this unprecedented COVID-19 dark storm would be a risky decision that likely gets shelved until holiday season in our opinion.

As Ives and others have noted, Apple will only get one chance to launch its first 5G iPhone and the company will naturally want to do everything it can to avoid a tepid response. Consequently, Ives adds that investors are already starting to “factor in a 5G launch that moves into the December timeframe.”

According to previous reports we’ve seen, Apple executives will make a decision regarding the iPhone 12 release date sometime in May. As for what we can expect out of Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup, a recent leak relays that Apple this year will release four new models. Note that the Pro models will all have triple-lens camera schemes and a LiDAR camera module similar to what Apple previously added to its recently unveiled iPad Pro.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.