iPhone 12 could be delayed until 2021 [Update]

iPhone 12
(Image credit: Ben Geskin/Smazizg)

For a while now, we've been hearing that the iPhone 12 would be impacted by coronavirus-related delays that have become ubiquitous with major products. And now it looks like Apple's first 5G phone could be pushed back even further than we thought.

A report from the Nikkei Asian Review says that "Apple is preparing the ground to possibly delay the launch of its first 5G iPhones." The story credits "sources familiar with the matter" with the scoop, and says the possible change is tied to how the coronavirus pandemic has altered global demand and threw a toolbox of wrenches into the product development schedule.

In terms of how far Apple will push the release back, the company is discussing a change that would delay the release by months, which would mean the earliest release date may be right smack-dab in the holiday season. 

However, the iPhone 12 could be delayed even further into next year. As one source put it: "The 5G iPhone could be postponed to 2021 in the worst-case scenario."

Update: A separate report in Seeking Alpha citing Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives says that it is "extremely unlikely" that Apple will launch the 5G iPhones in September or October. In face, he sets the probability at just 10 to 15%.

Apple's decision isn't just motivated by production difficulties. A source said Apple is concerned with "significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones," and that "They need the first 5G iPhone to be a hit." 

This all makes sense. While die-hard Apple users may be giddy for a 5G iPhone to arrive, many potential upgraders probably aren't concerned with buying a new phone right now. And since Apple's taken more time to make a 5G iPhone than Samsung and other titans, the company may want to make extra sure that it has a device that can beat the competition. 

The internal schedule at Apple, according to the report, places a May deadline for making a decision on when to release the 5G iPhone. 

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.