All signs point to Apple launching a new iPhone at an affordable price point in the coming weeks, but the coronavirus outbreak may have a thing or two to say about the launch timing before all is said and done. Sources told the Nikkei Asian Review that Apple will “likely miss its schedule” for the mass production of the as-yet-unannounced iPhone 9. Furthermore, low stock of existing models could be an issue “until April or longer.”
As multiple reports have claimed, Apple’s original plan was to release a cheaper iPhone (which has been referred to as both the iPhone SE 2 and the iPhone 9) this spring. Mass production was set to begin by the end of February, but sources now say Apple might have to wait until March to get the ball rolling.
“The suppliers are doing their best to produce and ship the [cheaper] iPhone within four weeks. […] The delay can’t be too long, otherwise it will affect the sales strategy of Apple’s new products in the second half of this year,” people that are said to have direct knowledge of the situation told Nikkei.
Nikkei had previously reported that Apple was asking suppliers to ready 80 million iPhone units for the first half of 2020, including 15 million iPhone 9 models. Now, those same suppliers are said to be “operating at around 30% to 50% of capacity,” as issues “from labor shortages to logistics transportation” continue to pile up. The launch of the iPhone 9 may very well depend on how quickly employees can get back to work.
“Work is starting to resume around the country, but we are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated,” Apple announced back on Monday. “As a result, we do not expect to meet the revenue guidance we provided for the March quarter due to two main factors.”
Just days ago, one rumor suggested that Apple would host a spring media event on Tuesday, March 31st, and that the iPhone 9 will then roll out to the public on Friday, April 3rd. If that was the plan, it might be in limbo.