Apple is set to begin mass production of the iPhone 12 later this month, according to a report from Nikkei. It says at least one of the four 5G-enabled iPhone 12 models will ramp production in mid-September, about one month later than a normal year. Production lines for the entire lineup will start up later in the month and the first weeks of October.
Apple’s CFO has already told the world that the iPhone 12 will launch a few weeks later than usual, suggesting an October release date. The Nikkei report also says that Apple’s long-rumored competitor to Tile trackers, dubbed Apple AirTags, are already at the mass production stage.
Unsurprisingly, the model going into mass production first is the 6.1-inch OLED model featuring two rear cameras, which will likely take the place of the iPhone 11 – Apple’s most popular model thanks to competitive pricing.
The other three iPhone 12 models are going to be a 5.4-inch OLED version, a 6.1-inch OLED model with triple-camera system and LiDAR scanner, and the new hero flagship 6.7-inch model with the biggest screen ever in an iPhone, and the new camera system and 3D scanner. Recent reports have suggested only the higher end phones will support the fastest 5G spectrum, mmWave.
All four iPhone 12’s will sport new industrial design, with flattened square sides harkening back to the iPhone 5 generation. Nikkei says Apple’s strict product secrecy requirements posed a particular challenge this year as iPhone 12 prototypes needed to be shipped in special trucks from China to California for verification.
Nikkei says Apple originally targeted 80 million 5G iPhone units for 2020, but production delays mean that the actual number will be in the 73 million range. However, Apple has increased iPad orders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, predicting sustained strong demand as more people work and learn from home.
AirTags are expected to debut alongside the iPhone 12, as a companion accessory that helps users locate lost items. The AirTags will use ultra-wide band technology to allow the phone to accurately determine their location in space, and show a virtual pin-marker in an augmented reality interface.
Apple’s fall product season is very much upon us. Over the weekend, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple is likely to announce the event date for the iPhone 12 announcement this week. YouTuber and leaker Jon Prosser believes that Apple will unveil a new iPad Air and the Apple Watch Series 6 today. The first Apple Silicon Macs and Apple-branded over-ear headphones are also expected to launch in October or November.