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iPhone 12 and AirTags appear to be on track for October launch

Published Sep 8th, 2020 4:11PM EDT
iPhone 12 mass production

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  • iPhone 12 mass production will start before the end of September, according to a new report.
  • Industry sources say that Apple was initially looking at a much longer delay for iPhone 12 production, but suppliers were able to overcome the most difficult coronavirus hurdles.
  • Apple’s AirTags accessory is said to already be in production as well.

Apple announced its first digital event since WWDC 2020 on Tuesday, but all signs point to the event focusing entirely on new Apple Watch and iPad models rather than the highly-anticipated iPhone 12. After Apple confirmed that its next iPhone would be delayed by “a few weeks,” rumors began to pop up claiming that Apple wouldn’t announce its latest iPhone until October. Since then, the evidence of an October launch has continued to pile up.

Nikkei Asian Review is the latest publication to add fuel to the fire, reporting that Apple has finally overcome all of the issues and disruptions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic and plans to begin production of the 5G iPhone 12 models in mid-September. This lines up with recent reports pointing to a mid-October launch.

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans tell Nikkei that the company is planning to start manufacturing iPhone 12 units on a limited scale in the coming days, while mass production will ramp up later in the month and in early October. Mass production of new iPhone models typically begins in August ahead of a late September launch, but this timetable is said to be a significant improvement over the delays that Apple was looking at just months ago.

“We’ve managed to shorten the delay significantly and we are not stopping here,” a supply chain executive told the publication in regards to the production of Apple’s first 5G phones. “The final assembly for some models is still going to be early October, but we are working to keep moving the production as early as possible.”

The fact that some models will enter production later than others gives credence to reports that Apple will stagger the release of its four iPhone 12 models. Multiple sources have claimed Apple will have two iPhone 12 versions (likely the more affordable 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch models) ready at launch, while the 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro models will come out at a later date, similar to how Apple handled the iPhone 8 and iPhone X launches.

Additionally, the report indicates that Apple’s rumored AirTags accessory has already entered production. AirTags are thought to be a rival to Tile, allowing users to track devices other than iPhones and iPads. Just last week, Macotakara reported that AirTags would launch alongside the iPhone 12 and be announced at an upcoming event. If they already entered production, there’s a chance we could see them at the September event, but with an October event in the works as well, Apple will have plenty of opportunities to showcase its new accessory.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.