A Cult of Mac report from Tuesday says Apple is postponing an unannounced March event that would have seen the unveiling of a new lower-cost iPhone, a new iPad Pro with a triple-lens camera, and more.
The report, citing a source at Apple, says Apple allegedly became “concerned” about gathering a large number of people together for the event at Apple Park. A February rumor suggested Apple would hold a March 31 event, but Apple never officially announced the now said to be canceled event.
If the alleged event has been canceled, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock. On Tuesday, Santa Clara County, where Apple’s main executive offices are located, banned all gatherings of 1,000 people or more due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The ban runs from March 11 to April 1, so a March 31 press event would have been out of the question.
At the time of this article, there are 43 known cases of COVID-19 infection in Santa Clara County, with one death. California currently reports 133 confirmed cases and two deaths. There are at least 900 cases in the United States, with at least 30 deaths.
Also contributing to the event cancelation says the report, are “delays in producing two of the primary products,” which contributed to Apple’s decision to call off the event.
Many of Apple’s Chinese suppliers were forced to close factories back in February, due to the coronavirus, causing production delays on devices like Apple’s iPhone and iPad Pro lineups. Although factories are back up and running, production levels are nowhere near normal, due to travel restrictions and staffing shortages.
Apple is now reportedly waiting to make a decision on rescheduling the event until they are better able to evaluate the “production schedule of components” and “final product assembly.”
If production on the expected new devices picks up enough to allow for a reliable supply, and if the coronavirus is still causing an issue with large meetings, Apple could debut the new devices via a press release.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which traditionally takes place in June, could also fall victim to coronavirus fears. The event normally draws approximately 5,000 attendees, meeting at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.
While the current meeting ban does not extend into June, Apple may still cancel the event due to an abundance of caution over fears of the virus.
Image by Arne Mueseler