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iPhone 12 'remains on schedule' for fall launch despite multiple reports of delays

(Image credit: Ben Geskin)

To say that the iPhone 12’s release date has been a moving target would be a massive understatement. A recent report said that the coronavirus pandemic could push the launch into 2021 in a worst-case scenario, but now there could be some good news.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, the “next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall.” That’s because mass production isn’t slated until the summer, at least according to people “familiar with the matter.”

Note that the report says the fall and not September. Last year’s iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max all went on sale September 20. But there is a precedent for late fall launches; the iPhone X had a release date of November 2017.

The latest Bloomberg report focuses on Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn. The company says that it has resolved labor shortages related to the COVID-19 outbreak and is now back at “normal seasonal capacity.”

The past Friday, Digitimes reported that “PCB suppliers say they have not received any notification from the client about delaying production for the 5G iPhone.  However, that same report said that “uncertainty about demand is leading to difficulties in recruiting workers.”

These recent reports contradict what we heard last week — that the iPhone 12 could be delayed for months in a report by Nikkei Asian Review. And the source cited “significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones.” 

In other words, Apple needs the iPhone 12 — its first 5G iPhone — to be a hit, and it could decide to delay the release even if it has enough units produced to launch in the fall. 

Samsung has already seen 60% less sales for the Samsung Galaxy S20 series compared to the Galaxy S10 last year, and in February Apple lowered its own quarterly guidance based on the coronavirus pandemic. And that was before the disease spread even more rapidly throughout the world. At last count there were nearly 700,000 COVID-19 cases and 33,106 deaths, with more than 122,000 cases in the U.S.

Bloomberg’s most recent report also cautions that although the iPhone 12 seems to be on track, any disruptions to Apple’s network of of partners could delay future devices. These devices likely include a new Apple TV, the Apple Watch 6, a new iPad and a new 13-inch MacBook Pro.