Apple iPhone 12 Launch Could Be Delayed Due To Coronavirus

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Coronavirus outbreak might have a large effect on Apple and will likely delay the launch of the iPhone 12. A Reuters report notes that the travel ban on China has clashed with the usual date that Apple engineers head to the country to finalize the production of the new iPhone. This could potentially delay the launch of the iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 Launch
 

iPhone 12 Launch

The report notes that high-volume manufacturing isn't scheduled until summer. However, the first few months of a new year is when Apple checks through the assembly processes with partners like on Hai Precision Industry's Foxconn, two former Apple employees said.

Apple's engineers

"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," notes the former employee who didn't want to be named.

Foxconn is one of the important contract manufacturers that Apple relies on, especially for the new models that Apple launches in its Fall event. As the world's largest contract electronics maker, Foxconn has postponed the reopening of the iPhone factories in Shenzhen and Zhengzhou after the Lunar New Year holiday over coronavirus.

Critical Timing
 

Critical Timing

The transition from prototype to the assembly units for a new iPhone model generally begins once China celebrates the Lunar New Year in late January and early February. At this point, Apple has tested numerous prototypes and is in the late stages of the engineering validation process. This is where Foxconn assembly units assemble the small number of devices and the engineers troubleshoot the problems.

A delay at this point means it would delay all the other processes that Apple goes through for the final iPhone. This includes finalizing the order for chips and other parts, which are largely custom-made for the iPhone.

Coronavirus Clouds iPhone 12 Launch

Coronavirus Clouds iPhone 12 Launch

Since huge numbers of components are needed, Apple can't wait to make the component selections. A former Apple engineer says that on-the-ground engineering collaboration is critical for new products. But currently, there's no face-to-face work being done. From the looks of it, the pause on the assembly units will likely continue for another month.

In turn, Apple and Foxconn will likely lose two months in the development of the iPhone 12. In the consumer electronics cycle, that's significant says an executive at a semiconductor firm. If the coronavirus effect tones down, only then would the work continue. Moreover, the virus has spread to South Korea and globally more than 80,000 people have been reported with the virus.

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