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iPhone 12 release may be delayed months because of the coronavirus

Published Mar 25th, 2020 4:42PM EDT

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  • Apple’s iPhone 12 release may be delayed because of the coronavirus.
  • The iPhone 12 release was planned for September, but Apple is worried that the economic impact of the coronavirus will significantly diminish initial sales.
  • The iPhone 12 release schedule will reportedly be finalized by May.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

With the coronavirus pandemic still spreading, there’s now a possibility that Apple’s iPhone 12 release may be pushed back by a few months, according to a new report from Nikkei. While we’ve seen previous reports claiming that the iPhone 12 — which will be the first iPhone to support 5G connectivity — might be pushed back to November, the new report suggests that the iPhone 12 release might be pushed back even further.

Apple executives are reportedly worried that demand for the next-gen device will be unusually low on account of the coronavirus’ ongoing impact on economies across the globe. Even if Apple can get iPhone production up to speed and on store shelves by September of this year, the simple reality is that consumers today have far less disposable income than they did a month ago. In turn, Apple reportedly wants to avoid a situation where the collective eyes of the world effectively ignore the iPhone 12 release on account of more pressing matters.

The report adds:

“Supply chain constraint aside, Apple is concerned that the current situation would significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones, which could lead to a tame reception of the first 5G iPhone,” said a source with direct knowledge of the discussion. “They need the first 5G iPhone to be a hit.”

It’s a valid point, and Apple is seemingly stuck in a lose-lose situation if the coronavirus can’t be contained in a timely manner. Suffice it to say, people simply aren’t going to care — hypothetically speaking — if the iPhone 12 ships with 30-day battery life and military-grade camera technology if they’re still worrying about how they’re going to pay rent for the month.

As it stands now, much of the United States remains in lockdown mode, and some states like California have enacted “stay at home” directives for the majority of the population. As a result, Apple employees are currently working from home, which is another fact which might impact the rollout of the iPhone 12.

The engineering development of the 5G iPhone has also been affected by travel curbs introduced in the U.S., China and elsewhere to combat the coronavirus, two people with knowledge of Apple’s schedule said. The company was supposed to work with suppliers to develop a more concrete prototype for the new phones from early March, but it had to delay such close collaboration, which requires hands-on testing, until the end of the month, before postponing it again due to the worsening pandemic in the U.S., they said.

Apple will reportedly try and make a decision about the iPhone 12’s release schedule in May, once it has a firmer grasp on the worldwide fallout from the coronavirus.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.