Apple is reportedly delaying the manufacturing ramp-up of this year’s crop of new iPhones by a full month. The holdup comes as the coronavirus pandemic has weakened global consumer demand and thrown a wrench into manufacturing operations across Asia, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources. Apple still plans to release four new iPhone models later this year, which will serve as the successors to the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro family of devices, according to the report.
Apple’s next iPhones are rumored to have 5G hardware, which will allow the phones to access a network that promises faster internet and quicker response times than LTE. The Silicon Valley giant normally increases its production in early summer to build a sizable inventory store by August, just in time for its traditional September launch event. The new timeline could have the event taking place as late as November. On top of the delays, Apple plans to slash iPhone production by as much as 20 percent during the second half of 2020, according to the report, which added, “It isn’t clear whether the slashed amount for 2020 would be pushed back into 2021 for manufacturing.”
The Journal’s report arrives less than a week after a report out of Asia claimed that Apple is planning on upping iPhone production by 4 percent year-over-year through March 2021 — a figure which will be a roughly even split between the newly announced iPhone SE and the forthcoming line of flagship devices. Last month it was reported that the launch of the next iPhones may be delayed by “practical hurdles” caused by the coronavirus. Apple traditionally needs to send engineers back and forth from its offices to its factories in China to finalize designs in the lead-up to the product’s release. But the coronavirus has led Apple to restrict employee travel to hotbeds of the disease, including China. Shares of Apple were down slightly Monday morning, dipping 0.8 percent to trade at $280.66.