Apple is facing delays in production for both existing iPhones and new iPhone models which will launch later this year. The delays are due to Coronavirus, which has caused disruptions in travel around the world, and also caused suppliers to reduce production output.
Reuters recently reported that although manufacturing for new iPhones does not usually start until summer, Coronavirus' impact means that Apple engineers might not have been traveling to China as per routine. In February, Apple moves the upcoming iPhone from prototype to manufacturing phase, and component selection and initial production samples start rolling out from partners like Foxconn. All this is done in preparation for full scale production in time for a global launch in September.
In March and April, Apple engineers typically work with Foxconn counterparts to set up new assembly lines and do trial runs, before making final adjustments in April and May. The aim is to have production lines up and running in June so others can be added progressively to ramp up output.
Because of Coronavirus concerns, it is highly likely that not only is iPhone 12 production going to take a hit, even iPhone SE 2 mass production could be delayed. As per a report, Apple suppliers have been working at just 30- 40 percent of their original capacity due to the epidemic.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also reported that although iPhone production for currently available models has been negatively impacted by Coronavirus in Q1 2020, iPhone SE 2 launch is expected to happen on time, before the end of March. Kuo does not expect production to go back to normal capacity before Q2 2020, however, this depends on how well Coronavirus is contained over the coming weeks and months.
For now, shipments from suppliers have been falling sharply in numbers. Genius Electronic Optical supplies camera lens for iPhones, and has severely reduced production due to the epidemic. As per Kuo, Apple only has a month of lens inventory left. Genius Electronic Optical is expected to resume significant production in May. Kuo also shared that 2020 iPhone models will use the same ultra-wide lens that iPhone 11 models use, which makes the dwindling inventory issue even more significant.
Apple is not the only company feeling the impact of COVID-19. Global gaming and tech events have been canceled around the world due to the virus.