The wait for iPhone 12 may get longer as outbreak reportedly delays production

iPhone 11 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s 2020 flagship phone, presumably the iPhone 12, has had production delayed by about a month due to the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on manufacturing and consumer demand, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean a delay in the iPhone 12 release date, it’s plausible that the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on device production in Asia would lead to a later launch. A prior leak suggested delays simply due to interrupted approval processes. Even Foxconn, the company that produces iPhones, admitted in March that the release could be delayed due to reduced production at its facilities.

But Apple is also reportedly delaying production due to global consumer demand – which presumably means fewer phones are being sold as millions lose their jobs and handset sales have taken a commensurate hit. Apple had already been concerned about this issue, according to a March report. If so, this could mean the tech giant is shifting production of its iPhone 12 models to meet that limited demand.

Four iPhone 12 models – and the iPhone SE 2020

Given leaks have suggested four iPhone 12 models are coming later in 2020, including a 5G phone, Apple could even be delaying production to give its newly-released iPhone SE 2020 more time to sell units as the newest iPhone on the block.

And in truth, the iPhone SE 2020 seems far more suited to the current moment: at $399 / £419 / AU$749 / Rs 42,500, it’s a lot more affordable than a flagship, especially for consumers whose paychecks have been impacted by the outbreak. With the larger yet still likely affordable iPhone SE Plus delayed, too, we could see the entire Apple lineup staggered farther down 2020 than was originally expected. 

In any case, we could get a hint at what's coming at Apple's online-only WWDC 2020, which will likely happen in June.


David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.