While it remains to be seen if the coronavirus ultimately has much of an impact on when Apple’s iPhone 12 hits store shelves, the epidemic is already impacting iPhone replacement availability. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple has started informing retail stores that “replacement iPhones for heavily damaged devices will be in short supply for as long as two to four weeks.”
On a related note, some stores employees have already started noticing that certain replacement parts — such as displays and camera modules — are in short supply as well.
Tim Cook, meanwhile, recently said at an Apple shareholder meeting that the coronavirus is a “fairly dynamic situation” and that it may prove to be a challenge for the company. That said, Cook a few days ago made a point of noting that Apple recently re-opened most of its stores in China and that a good number of stores may return to normal working hours soon.
Of course, Apple’s biggest challenge in the wake of the coronavirus centers on its manufacturing partners, many of whom are not operating anywhere close to full capacity.
To this point, Cook said during a recent interview:
When you look at the parts that are done in China, we have reopened factories. So the factories were able to work through the conditions to reopen. They’re reopening. They’re also in ramp.
And so I think of this as sort of the third phase of getting back to normal. And we’re in phase three of the — of the ramp mode.
And I — things are going pretty much like we thought they would go there in terms of bringing things back. And so it’ll — it will take some time, but by in large I think this is a temporary condition, not — not a long term kind of thing. You know, Apple is fundamentally strong, and that’s — so that’s how I see it.
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see if WWDC goes on as planned in June given that Google just cancelled its annual I/O developer conference.