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The launch of Apple’s first 5G handset may be in trouble, reports Japanese publication Nikkei (via Macrumors), who’s Apple internal sources have told them the launch of the iPhone 12 5G may be delayed “by months.”
The issue is both supply, due to delays in development caused by travel restrictions, and also concerns around demand.
“Supply chain constraint aside, Apple is concerned that the current situation would significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones, which could lead to a tame reception of the first 5G iPhone,” said a source with direct knowledge of the discussion. “They need the first ?5G iPhone? to be a hit.”
The economic conditions around the COVID-19 crisis have already caused a sharp drop in demand for smartphones, and the situation is only expected to worsen going forward.
“We have been notified to start shipping in big volumes to meet Apple’s new product launch by the end of August, instead of like in previous years, when it would be sometime in June,” said a supplier of components related to printed circuit boards. “The change was made very recently, and that could imply that the mass production of the phone could also be delayed for months.”
Bloomberg notes in the extreme the handset could be delayed all the way till 2021.
Apple has reportedly not made a final decision yet, but this could come as late as May.