COVID-19 won't delay 2020 iPhone lineup, but future products could suffer

COVID-19 won’t delay 2020 iPhone, but future products could suffer


iPhone XS box gold
iPhone might be okay for now, but Apple isn't out of the woods yet.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic won’t stop Apple from launching its 2020 iPhone lineup on schedule, according to a new report published Monday — but it could cause “disruptions” for future Apple products.

Cupertino’s largest manufacturing partner, Foxconn, is slowly recovering after the coronavirus outbreak last month caused huge labor shortages and factory closures. But Bloomberg warns Apple isn’t out of the woods yet.

Apple’s plans for the 2020 iPhone lineup were all but nailed down before COVID-19 wreaked havoc throughout its supply chain. So, when workers returned to the factory floors, it wasn’t long before they were back on track.

Foxconn says it is now operating at normal seasonal capacity. Its previous labor shortages have been resolved, and sources claim there will be no delay to this year’s iPhone refresh. Sadly, the same cannot be said for other Apple releases.

Future Apple products delayed by COVID-19

Apple “and its partners spend months or even years sourcing components around the world and any disruptions to that complex network could delay future devices,” warns Bloomberg’s newest report.

In other words, preparations that should have already been made for other devices in Apple’s pipeline will have been pushed back. It’s unclear whether Apple and its partners have now returned to carving out those plans, or whether they’re on the back-burner for now while efforts are focused on delivering the 2020 iPhone lineup on time.

This year’s iPhone refresh is expected to be significant for Apple in that it will be the first with 5G connectivity. The technology is expected to spark a new iPhone boom as fans rush to upgrade from older handsets in pursuit of super-fast data speeds.

5G will “exceed its hype, and Apple is one of the best ways to invest in the transformation,” according to Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster.

Coronavirus has already caused chaos

Despite Foxconn’s quick recovery from the coronavirus, the company has been forced to slash its 2020 revenue projections. Other key players in Apple’s “carefully calibrated production chain” have also suffered, while Apple itself was forced to revise its forecast for the current quarter.

Foxconn is reportedly exploring ways to diversify its manufacturing base in an effort to better deal with similar disruptions in the future.