Report: iPhone 12 launch and availability called further into question over coronavirus

So far there’s been uncertainty and doubt cast as to what availability of the iPhone 12 lineup will look like come this fall but most reports suggest Apple will still launch the new hardware in the early fall like normal even if production is delayed due to the coronavirus. However, this afternoon, a new report suggests the timeline for the iPhone 12 is becoming more unclear.

A Reuters report today highlights that Apple’s engineers are normally frequently flying to China this time of year to start figuring out the assembly process for the upcoming iPhones that traditionally launch in the fall. However, with travel bans in place due to coronavirus, that isn’t happening.

While a full production ramp for the flagship iPhones usually starts in the summer, the report notes that the early part of the iPhone production validation process being delayed could postpone device availability.

One of Reuters’ sources that was a former Apple employee said:

Are Apple’s engineers with the Foxconn engineers? If they are, they’re probably making progress. But if they’re not, if they’re quarantined, that could be bad.

Notably, Foxconn had to push back the reopening of its factories in China. The most recent goal is to bring them back online at 50% production by the end of this month. Time will tell if that pans out.

New York Times report today on the status of the coronavirus highlighted US officials warning that we could see an outbreak in the United States. Italy and other countries have also recently seen concerning outbreaks.

As for the iPhone 9, production of that is also said to be delayed, although Apple could still announce the device as planned in March.

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