Apple’s coronavirus-related travel ban on engineers traveling to Asia has affected the development of the Cupertino firm’s upcoming “iPhone 12,” which could delay the debut of the device until October.
A new report from the supply chain-focused DigiTimes says Apple has extended the deadline by one month to the end of April for the removal of a set of travel restrictions that currently restrict its engineers from making business trips to Asia. The restrictions have reportedly delayed the engineering verification tests for the 5G-capable iPhones at manufacturing facilities in China.
DigiTimes, via MacRumors:
Related supply chain makers had originally expected the rescheduled EVT procedures to be carried out by the end of March enabling the kick-off of volume production of the new iPhone devices in June, said the sources, adding that a further delay of EVT tests to the end of April could postpone the volume production by another 1-2 months.
Judging from the revised EVT schedule, Apple’s product launch for the next-generation iPhone devices could to be postponed to October, said the sources.
Over the weekend, a report from Bank of America analysts revealed by Bloomberg said Apple’s upcoming 5G “iPhone 12,” which would normally hit shelves this September, could be delayed by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. B of A analysts believe the new 5G iPhone could be delayed by as much as a month this fall.
We first reported on Apple’s travel restrictions late last month. The restrictions apply to several countries that have been hit by the coronavirus outbreak. This comes at an inopportune time for Apple, as its engineers often visit China during this time of year to prepare for the manufacturing of the next-generation iPhones.
Apple engineers visit China to work the bugs out of the iPhone assembly process with assembly partners such as Foxconn before the actual assembly of the devices begins in the summer.
The delays could have a domino effect, eating into the time Apple requires to finalize orders for chips and other iPhone components. Such orders need to be made well in advance of full production.
Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple has plans to release four OLED iPhone models in the fall. The new lineup is expected to consist of 5.4-inch, two 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch models, all of which will be 5G-capable.