We recently learned of the existence of a cut-down version of Apple’s fantastic AirPods Pro, potentially named the AirPods Pro Lite. Unfortunately, it seems like these entry-level true wireless earbuds could suffer the same production issues as many other Apple gadgets due to the complications caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
A report from DigiTimes, citing sources in Apple’s supply chain, says that the planned Q2 2020 start date for the production of these new earbuds will likely be pushed back by at least a couple of months.
Apple hasn’t been sending its engineers over to the production facilities in China and the rest of Asia due to fears of coronavirus infection. This means development of upcoming products like the iPhone SE 2, iPhone 12 and the AirPods Pro Lite is delayed as a result, with the new AirPods likely to begin mass production by the end of Q2, which works out at some point in June.
The standard AirPods Pro, which have been on sale since October 2019, should however survive the delays unscathed thanks to the factories responsible for their assembly continuing work at half capacity over the Lunar New Year, when the majority of Chinese businesses were closed. This was decided in December of last year as part of an effort to satisfy the heavy demand for the earbuds, which we saw manifested in shortages over the Black Friday/Holiday 2019 period.
We’ve heard recently that the iPhone SE 2 and iPhone 12 should still make their rumored reveal and release dates in March/April and September respectively. The new iPad Pro is also forecast for a March release, but there has been no news yet of whether coronavirus-related problems will have any effect on its production or launch schedule.