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iPhone 12 mass production reportedly delayed by a month

Published Apr 27th, 2020 8:56AM EDT

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  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has delayed mass production of the iPhone 12 by a month due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • All four iPhone 12 models — 5.4-inch, two 6.1-inch, 6.7-inch — are still expected to release this year, but the supply might be more constrained than usual.
  • Apple is also concerned about consumer demand due to the global economic downturn.
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Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen reports about the shifting release date of the iPhone 12 on an almost daily basis. One day the next flagship iPhone is on track and ready to roll out on time this fall, and the next, it’s not clear if the iPhone 12 will even ship to consumers before the end of the year. Apple, unsurprisingly, has been as tight-lipped as ever about its plans, but according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the production timeline for the 2020 iPhone lineup is being pushed back due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

As the report explains, Apple typically ramps up mass production of its flagship phone models in the early summer to prepare for the launch and subsequent release in mid-September. Sources say that while Apple will still build phones starting in the summer months, mass production “will slide back by about a month.”

As a result of the mass production delay, Apple is cutting the number of mobile devices it plans to produce in 2020 by 20%, one of the sources claimed. Also, Foxconn, Apple’s primary supplier and iPhone assembler in China, is said to have stopped hiring at its iPhone plant in Zhengzhou, according to people in the company.

Although factories have begun to reopen in China, Apple’s biggest concern now is consumer demand as the economy in every corner of the world continues to suffer due to the pandemic. As WSJ notes, around two-thirds of iPhone sales occur in the United States and Europe, which is where the virus has hit hardest. Even if the US and the UK reopened in some capacity before the fall, there’s no telling if there will be a second wave to account for.

Additionally, as previous reports have claimed, the travel restrictions necessitated by the pandemic have forced Apple to change the way it traditionally develops its devices, as engineers have been unable to visit labs or suppliers around the world to offer guidance of make swift adjustments. Instead, sources say that Apple’s US engineering team made video calls to colleagues in China to guide them through the assembly of iPhone prototypes.

Despite the reported change in plans, Apple is still expected to launch four new iPhone models with OLED displays this fall. They will come in three different sizes — 5.4 inches, two 6.1-inch models, and 6.7 inches — and some are expected to support 5G networks as well. We may have gotten our first look at the design just last week.

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.