iPhone SE 2 production may have been pushed back due to COVID-19

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Apple could debut iPhone SE successor as soon as March
iPhone SE 2 will be the successor to 2016's iPhone SE.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s iPhone SE 2 could be pushed back beyond the March release some were expecting as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak causing disruption in Apple’s supply chain.

A report published Thursday claims that Apple has deferred orders for the flexible printed circuit boards (PCBs) for the low-cost handset. Orders initially scheduled for the first quarter have been delayed until the second.

Digitimes cites leading PCB manufacturer Zhen Ding Technology, which it says is “believed to be a supplier” for the new iPhone. Interestingly, the report claims that Zhen Ding’s capacity utilization at its plants in China “has reached 80%,” and it is “ready to deliver volume shipments any time” that Apple requests.

This would suggest that Apple is experiencing a bottleneck somewhere else in the manufacturing process. A report published earlier today noted that the iPhone SE has entered the final stages of engineering validation. This is the stage at which finalized hardware is tested and validated. Once that has been completed, it can go into mass-manufacturing — or, at least, it will be able to when all the parts are ready for this to take place.

You may have to wait for the iPhone SE 2

Apple was rumored to be unveiling the new iPhone SE 2 on March 31. But that deadline, which was never confirmed by Apple, now seems unlikely. Apple customers have already been affected by the coronavirus-related issues in China slowing production of components. According to a Bloomberg report published Wednesday, Apple has informed staff at Apple Stores to expect delays of two to four weeks for replacement phones and individual parts.

It is possible that Apple still goes ahead with the iPhone SE unveiling later this month. It could conceivably launch the new iPhone SE with limited supplies or put off pre-orders until a later date. Since no March event has yet been announced, however, it might be better to wait until these production issues are sorted.