Over the weekend, Bank of America analysts released a report predicting that the flagship 5G iPhone series could be delayed by a month as another example of the COVID-19 coronavirus impact on the supply chain.
Apple’s flagship iPhones usually debut in September; the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro were released on 20 September 2019. However, some models have previously launched in late October/early November (iPhone XR / iPhone X). As the production of iPhone 12 continues to be held up, the September launch window is looking increasingly unlikely.
In February, Digitimes reported that Apple had stopped sending iPhone engineers to China and that had stalled the prototype testing for the iPhone 12. It again reiterated that today with Apple engineer travel restrictions now extended until April.
Although the iPhone 12 mass production would not start until around July, Apple uses the spring to finalize prototypes and sign off on production processes for its devices. The iPhone 12 is apparently still stuck in Engineering Validation Test stage; it must pass through Design Validation Test and Production Validation Test stages before mass production can begin.
In respect to the iPhone SE 2, it’s not just Bank of America expecting disruption to that model. Digitimes last week said that component orders had been pushed back as Apple reorganizes the supply chain schedule in the wake of the coronavirus measures. What was looking like a March launch for the cheaper iPhone is now rolling over into April.
It is still possible that Apple announces the phone in March, perhaps with an early April launch date and limited supply.
The rumor mill currently expects Apple to refresh the iMac and Mac mini soon too, and possibly debut new iPad Pros featuring a new camera system.