iPhone 12 Pro Max delay makes the iPhone SE look even better

iPhone 12 Pro Max front smaller notch
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

The highest-end iPhone 12 models as well as the rumored iPhone SE Plus could be hit by major delays, making the new iPhone SE 2020 even more compelling. However, production is still moving forward despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

These predictions come from an investor note written by Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst for TF International Securities with a strong track record for telling us what Apple will soon be working on (via 9to5Mac). His sources come from Apple's component supply chain in Asia, which help paint a picture about all of Apple's product ranges, including the iPhone.

iPhone 12

The full iPhone 12 range is still expected to be announced at the same time, likely in September. However, the largest 6.7-inch model, believed to be the iPhone 12 Pro Max, will arrive later than the other three models we're expecting. 

The 5.4-inch and two 6.1-inch iPhone 12 models will hit the production line in September, but the 6.7-inch version will be in production in October instead. This could be a similar situation to the one we saw with the iPhone X and iPhone XR, where Apple released certain models after its usual September launch window.

The iPhone 12 models are apparently being tested by local staff at the Chinese manufacturing facilities, rather than Apple's US engineers, due to the travel restrictions put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus. It's because of this that the production process is a month behind where it should be.

Another unfortunate delay is coming because of the mmWave antennas, which are crucial for making the iPhone 12 series 5G-compatible. The whole range is thought to be coming with the more futureproof mmWave version of 5G, as well as the currently used but less advanced sub-6Ghz signal. If Apple is installing both versions on all its new phones, this could make the delays more severe.

Assuming the rest of the rumors about the iPhone 12 are still valid, we still have a lot to be excited about when Apple makes its announcement this fall. 

The whole range will have OLED displays with a smaller front camera notch. And the Pro models are also expected to get 120Hz refresh rates, will run on a new CPU likely named the A14 Bionic, and have improved cameras, including a new LiDAR depth-sensing camera like the one on the iPad Pro 2020.

Fortunately, if you don't want to wait for Apple's highest-end phone, the new iPhone SE 2020 is a pretty amazing bargain. You get the same A13 Bionic CPU found in the iPhone 11, solid cameras and durable, lightweight design, all for $400 -- a small fraction of what the iPhone 12 will probably cost.

But if you want a bigger version of the iPhone SE, we have some bad news...

iPhone SE Plus

Apple just launched its 2nd-gen iPhone SE, which according to Kuo has sold much better than expected. However, we're still due to get a larger 5.5-inch version to complement the existing 4.7-inch version, likely named the iPhone SE Plus.

Unfortunately, its launch has been postponed until the second half of 2021. Kuo had previously said we would see this phone in the first half of 2021, but has now changed his prediction since he claims Apple has altered its product timeline.

A tweet by Jon Prosser helps round out the picture further. The SE Plus will still use the A13 CPU found in this year's SE, although by that point the chip will have been surpassed by the A14 we expect to see in the iPhone 12.

Mass production has yet to start on the SE Plus, which is only to be expected for a phone that's over a year away. Prosser also says that the standard SE won't be getting an overhaul next year; Apple will just be introducing the new size.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.