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How coronavirus might lead to major iPhone 12 leaks

Published Feb 26th, 2020 7:31AM EST
iPhone 12 Production
Image: Zach Epstein for BGR

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Apple is the best when it comes to keeping smartphone secrets, but every new iPhone leaks in some capacity. It’s not as bad as Google’s Pixel 3 and 4, or every Galaxy S and Note phone that launched in the past few years, but the newest iPhone is featured in plenty of reports in the months leading to its announcement — and who can forget the whole iPhone 4 leak from a few years ago, when Apple lost a prototype of the handset? Still, Apple can keep plenty of new iPhone details under wraps for a longer time thanks to an entire culture of secrecy, as well as a security team that enforces it. This year, however, things may go a little differently than usual, a new report says, and it’s all because of an unforeseen 2020 event.

If you said coronavirus, that’s exactly what it is. The epidemic is far from being contained, with the latest numbers indicating a total number of worldwide infections of over 81,000, including 2,765 fatalities. It’s also worth noting that some 30,000 people already recovered, but that’s not a guarantee that reinfection can’t happen.

China has tried to contain the spread of the virus by imposing a strict quarantine of some of the affected areas and taking other measures to prevent additional infections. As a result, the extended holiday periods will impact China and the world’s economy this year. Moreover, because China-based factories manufacture many of the most popular consumer electronics out there, including the iPhone, reports have already emerged to say that Apple’s iPhone 9 and iPhone 12 launch plans may be affected by production delays.

This is where the new rumor comes in, as a source told Front Page Tech that Apple already has measures in place to mitigate the unexpected production delays.

According to Jon Prosser’s source, Apple is looking to start iPhone 12 manufacturing earlier than usual. New iPhones go into production in early summer, ahead of the phone’s mid-September launch. If this report is accurate, iPhone 12 production might start one or two months ahead of schedule. The same YouTuber said a few days ago that the iPhone SE 2’s launch name will be “iPhone,” leaked Target inventory listings for upcoming Apple products including the iPhone, and accurately revealed Galaxy S20 pricing for the US before anyone else.

Apple is reportedly looking to spread out production and ensure it’ll have enough iPhone 12 supply at launch. The report also notes that Apple is looking to spread production between several factories, although it’s unclear how realistic that is. Apple manufactures iPhones in China and India, with the bulk of production assigned to Foxconn.

These production timeline changes might alter Apple’s way of doing things, the YouTuber said, which could lead to early iPhone 12 leaks. Every year, some of the new iPhone leaks originate from Apple’s suppliers, and the same will happen with the iPhone 12. The coronavirus threat, however, might disrupt everything about regular iPhone production cycles, even Apple’s leak-prevention measures. The full video is embedded below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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