Apple is pressing suppliers to reduce production delays for its next-generation iPhone range after coronavirus blockades in China and the US delayed the tech giant’s schedule, Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing sources. unidentified.
The iPhone maker is slated to launch four models in its 5G lineup with three different screen sizes and faces delays of between four weeks and two months for mass production of those, the Nikkei said.
Apple assembles most of its iPhones in China, but the design team and other features are located at its Cupertino, California headquarters. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic in China earlier this year, factories assembling Apple iPhones were closed. Since then they have reopened.
But in March, California enacted a “shelter-in-place” order that affected Apple staff. Some of Apple’s employees returned to the company’s headquarters in June to try to launch the iPhone on time, the news release reported.
Sources told Nikkei Asian Review that Apple was less likely to postpone the launch of the iPhone 5Gs until 2021. The publication reported that that had been the worst case scenario it faced three months ago.
Apple generally announces its new iPhones in September. The Nikkei said the reported delays on where the company would normally be in development for that timeline.
A source told Nikkei that part of the final iPhone assembly could be delayed until early October and that there may be more delays.
Apple’s rivals, including Samsung and Huawei, already have 5G-capable phones on the market. While next-generation networks are not as widespread, they are developing in some countries like China and South Korea very quickly. Some analysts see the launch of an iPhone 5G as a potential catalyst for Apple’s shares to rise further.
Apple has also told its suppliers to build more than 45 million units of older iPhone models, the iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 range, and the iPhone SE, to maintain their sales momentum, Nikkei reported.