Apple reportedly mulling 5G iPhone launch delay

27 March 2020

iPhone 5G concept

(Above shows a concept iphone 12 (5G) produced by DBS Designing team)

Apple is considering the possibility of delaying the launch of its first 5G iPhones due to potentially lower consumer demand and supply chain complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review, citing “sources familiar with the matter.”

The first 5G iPhones are widely expected to be launched in September. The Nikkei report says that Apple might delay the launch by months and even push it into 2021 in a worst-case scenario. The report also notes that Apple has not yet made a final decision, but the company is expected to do so in May.

The reasons for a delay, if indeed Apple decides to hit pause, are everything do to with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the report. The global health crisis is having a ripple effect on Apple’s product development, manufacturing and supply chain.

Travel restrictions, lockdowns and “shelter-in-place” rules are keeping product developers from travelling to review designs and collaborate in person. Apple’s biggest manufacturing market is China, where facilities are likely to be affected. Furthermore, Apple has suppliers across the globe, including China, Europe, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. – none of which have been spared from significant disruption.

Beyond the difficulties of producing the new devices, Apple is also concerned that the impact of coronavirus on the global economy will depress consumer demand for new smartphones.

Given the scale of the disruption of the current health crisis, Apple certainly will not be alone in reassessing current business plans.

Whenever Apple does launch 5G devices, it is expected to be a significant event for the young 5G market. Some analysts expect Apple’s new devices to overtake those of current market leaders Samsung and Huawei

Michelle Donegan is a tech writer who has covered the communications industry for more than 25 years on both sides of the pond. Having worked for various industry titles, including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and Light Reading, she specializes in mobile network technology trends. 

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