iPhone 12 may debut in September after all

iPhone 12 Pro colors render
(Image credit: svet apple)

If you like your iPhone launches in September, a new analyst report offers some encouraging news about Apple's iPhone 12 plans. While Apple's upcoming phone may not be unveiled at the beginning of the month as usual, it's still on track for a September debut, with the iPhone 12 arriving only a few weeks later than usual.

That's the word from Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives in a note to investors. According to AppleInsider, which saw Ives' research, the analyst reports that Apple's supply chain is back to normal, putting the iPhone 12 on track to launch in its "typical September timeframe." Specifically, Ives is predicting a late September launch event, followed by a release date in early October.

That would be later than Apple's handled iPhone launches in recent years, but not that much later. The iPhone 11 models shipped on Sept. 20 last year after an Apple launch event on Sept. 10. The last time Apple launched an iPhone in October, it was the iPhone XR in 2018, but the iPhone XS and XS Max had already made their debut a month earlier.

Ives' forecast is a lot more optimistic than what other people have been predicting for the iPhone 12 in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, which had caused some disruptions at the companies that supply the parts Apple uses for its phones. Travel restrictions have also reportedly hampered the ability of Apple employees to travel to Asia to supervise iPhone production.

As a result, a lot of iPhone 12 rumors had predicted significant delays for the iPhone's release. The Wall Street Journal wasn't expecting Apple to unveil its new phones until October, and a report from last month raised the possibility of new phones not arriving until November.

Clashing expectations about when Apple's going to take the wraps off its new phones suggests that a lot remains up in the air. We'd expect a firmer date to emerge as we get deeper into summer, and iPhone production ramps up.

Ives' research note predicts a big year for iPhone upgrades due to the fact that all four rumored models are expected to ship with 5G connectivity. But Ives points out that not every iPhone 12 will be able to work with a full range of 5G networks — he says that only some models will be able to work with high-speed mmWave-based 5G, which currently makes up the bulk of Verizon's 5G network. (AT&T and T-Mobile used far-reaching low-band 5G in their initial launches, and they're now building that out with higher-speed 5G.)

That's not the first time we've heard about different levels of 5G support among Apple phones. Earlier reports have claimed the iPhone 12 Pro will work with all flavors of 5G, while the less expensive iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max won't be able to work with mmWave.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.