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Apple confirms iPhone 12 is delayed — so what's the new release date?

iPhone 12 delay
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan Getty Images)

Apple has seemingly confirmed all of the recent rumors — we're not going to see the iPhone 12 in September. While announcing its fiscal second quarter earnings today (July 30), Apple gave analysts a forecast for its current quarter which ends in September.

Chief financial officer Luca Maestri noted that Apple's September 2019 quarter included iPhone 11 sales. "This year, the supply of the new product will be a few weeks later than that," Maestri said. That would point to an October launch for the iPhone 12 at the earliest.

That's a change from how Apple's rolled out new iPhones in recent years. The company typically hosts a launch event in early September, with iPhone sales starting within two weeks of that date. The iPhone 12 would be the first new flagship iPhone to debut in October since the iPhone 4s.

iPhone 12 release date: October or November?

Apple watchers had been anticipating an iPhone 12 delay after the coronavirus outbreak disrupted the global economy in general and Apple's production schedule in particular.

Apple suppliers including Broadcom and Qualcomm have both hinted that a major customer of theirs was facing a product delay, and it didn't take too much guesswork to figure out they were referring to Apple.

Just recently Apple leaker Jon Prosser said that the iPhone 12 and new iPads would launch in October. Apple did not give an official iPhone 12 release date, however.

Our money is on October release date for the iPhone 12, but we've heard a couple of reports that one or models could slip to a November release date.

iPhone 12: What to expect

We're expecting four different iPhone 12 models this year, with each model featuring 5G connectivity — a first for Apple's phones. Apple is likely to release a 5.4-inch iPhone 12 and a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max, as well as a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Based on various leaks, all four iPhone 12 models should offer a faster and more efficient A14 Bionic processor along with 5G connectivity. The regular iPhone 12 models should feature two rear cameras, while the iPhone 12 Pro devices should offer three rear cameras as well as displays with a 120Hz refresh rate.

At least one of the two iPhone 12 Pro models should also include a LiDAR sensor, which would enable enhanced photography features as well as better performance in AR apps.

iPhone SE to the rescue

The iPhone was Apple's worst performing business segment during the just-completed June quarter in terms of growth, though it did see a 2% uptick to $26.4 billion in sales. Apple had been forecasting year-over-year iPhone numbers to be worse, and CEO Tim Cook credited interest in the iPhone SE for the stronger-than-expected performance.

The iPhone SE "seemed to appeal to those holding onto the device a little bit longer because they wanted a smaller form factor phone," said Cook, adding that the $399 price was also a factor in the phone's popularity. The iPhone 11 remains Apple's best seller, though.

Apple's September quarter is usually the slowest for iPhone sales, as shoppers hold off in anticipation of the new iPhone launch. Apple executives told analysts it's expecting demand to be unchanged from the June quarter, with the iPhone SE doing the heavy lifting for the company — at least until the next batch of iPhone arrives in the quarter after that.