Apple had to delay its iPhone 12 launch event by a whole month, and the four iPhone 12 models were released in two stages. First came the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro in late October, and then Apple’s mini and Pro Max models hit store shelves in mid-November last year. That’s a significant change compared to the regular late September iPhone release timeframe that Apple usually aims for. Apple had to delay some other iPhone launches in recent years as well, due to production issues. The most notable iPhone model to see a significant delay was the iPhone X that wasn’t released until early November 2017. But last year’s launch issues were related to the coronavirus pandemic. The health crisis stopped world travel and temporarily halted factories producing parts for all sorts of gadgets, iPhones included. This forced Apple to delay the iPhone 12 launch, but the phones made it to stores last year nonetheless, quickly becoming best-selling devices.
We’re several months away from Apple’s iPhone 13 unveiling, but there are no signs to suggest the 2021 iPhones will see any launch delays. A trio of reports from Asia indicate that Apple’s iPhone supply chain is already mass-producing parts for the iPhone 13, suggesting that the new handset series might be on track for a regular release timeframe this year.
The reports come from Digitimes, a steady source of iPhone rumors, but one that’s not always been accurate at predicting Apple’s plans for its best-selling products. In one report, Digitimes says that Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC is already mass-producing the A15 processor that will power iPhone 13 handsets. A previous report claimed that TSMC would start A15 Bionic manufacturing earlier than expected, so this report certainly makes sense.
Digitimes now says that demand for the new chip will outperform its predecessor, the A14 Bionic that powered the iPhone 12 series. The A15 is expected to be built on the same 5nm process technology as the A14, but it should improve performance and energy efficiency.
In a separate news story, Digitimes says that Apple is poised to top Samsung and become the biggest buyer of OLED smartphone screens in the world. Samsung also happens to be the biggest supplier of OLED panels for the iPhone and its Galaxy flagship phones. Apple last year moved all of its iPhones to OLED screens, ditching LCD completely. Apple has seen massive demand for the iPhone 12 since its release, as we saw in recent reports.
All iPhone 13 phones are expected to feature OLED displays as well, which would explain Apple’s tremendous interest in securing OLED panel supply.
The final Digitimes story says that new iPhone supply chain companies will be pulling in orders in June, in anticipation of the iPhone 13 launch:
Apple has been strict about whether its new iPhone devices can be put in place on time this year, said the sources, adding that the vendor has been gearing up efforts to ensure steady supplies of parts and components needed for its iPhone production amid the tight capacity in the semiconductor industry and uncertainty about global logistic capacity, said the sources
The report notes that some supply chain makers claim to have received payments from a US-based client, which could be Apple. The report does note that it’s too early to tell whether the iPhone 13 will launch on time or if it might see delays similar to last year. The report says that if everything goes smoothly, production could peak in September and October.
Previous reports said that the current chip shortages have impacted iPad and Mac production lines, but not the iPhone.