Printed circuit board suppliers in the Apple supply chain in Taiwan have dismissed rumors that they’ve been asked to delay volume production of the 5G iPhone, according to a new report from Digitimes.
This comes at a time when there are mixed reports about whether this fall’s iPhone 12 handsets are going to be delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
A report published Wednesday stated that Apple is having internal discussions debating whether to delay the launch of the 5G iPhone by months. As with every iPhone in recent years, the iPhone 12 was expected to be released this fall. However, due to fears about the economic conditions under which it might launch, Apple is reportedly considering pushing this back.
Another source has disputed this, though. In a recent note to clients, analyst Gene Munster said that he expects Apple to be able to deliver its first 5G iPhone as planned this fall.
At present, Apple’s supply chain is still undergoing some challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak. But factories operated by the likes of Foxconn are back up and running — and expect to be at regular capacity again by the end of March.
Economic challenges with new iPhone
The economic question is more complex, however. In order for an iPhone to be ready for production early each year, much of the work must have already been done. While Apple couldn’t have known about COVID-19 any earlier than the end of 2019, its plans will be largely set in stone by this stage. Delaying a feature like 5G is a major undertaking.
Confusingly, the report this week also suggested the delay would be only a few months. That, in turn, would suggest Apple thinks people’s spending habits will have dramatically changed between, say, September and November or December.
There’s undoubtedly plenty of confusion and complexity regarding this year’s iPhones. But the idea that Apple would purposely delay them, even if they have the manufacturing capacity to make them, seems questionable. Today’s report would appear to back up that skepticism.