Apple’s next iPhone will reportedly enter mass production a month late

Apple Inc. will start mass-producing the 2020 iPhone about a month later than originally planned, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Apple usually unveils new iPhone variants in September and begins shipping orders toward the end of that month. The reported production delay could push back the launch date of this year’s model to November or potentially early December.

The iPhone 12, as the device has been referred to in leaks, is rumored to come in four editions with screen sizes ranging from 5.4 inches to 6.7 inches. At least some of the models are expected to feature support for 5G. As far as performance is concerned, a purported benchmark test of the iPhone 12 obtained by MacRumors last month suggests 25% better single-core performance and 33% better multicore performance than the current iPhone 11.

The Journal reported today that Apple could cut the number of iPhone 12 devices it makes in the second half of 2020 by as much as 20%. One of the contributors to the lowered production target and one-month manufacturing delay may be the supply chain disruptions Apple is believed to have been experiencing.

LG Innotek Co. Ltd., a South Korean firm that makes camera modules for the iPhone, is said to have temporarily suspended operations at one of its factories last month. Apple engineers working on the iPhone 12 reportedly had to delay finalizing the design because it has become more difficult to collaborate with suppliers.

Another, potentially bigger factor behind Apple’s decision to reduce production might be the pandemic’s impact on its customers. The changes in consumer spending patterns are already believed to be taking a toll on the iPhone maker’s top line. Apple is set to report second-quarter earnings on Thursday and analysts polled for the Zacks consensus estimate are expecting revenues of $53.44 billion, a 7.9% drop from a year ago.

The iPhone 12 may not attract as much demand as it normally would when it launches later this year, but Apple’s lower-cost iPhone SE could help the company better respond to the new market realities. Unveiled earlier this month, the iPhone SE comes with a $399 price tag, a 4.7-inch display and the A13 Bionic processor from Apple’s 2019 handset lineup.

Based on the currently available information, it appears that all the smartphones Apple had planned to introduce in 2020 will indeed launch this year. But the same may not be true for the iPad lineup. According to a recent leak, Apple has decided to push back the release of its first 5G-compatible tablet to 2021.

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