Due to the ongoing COVID-19 global crisis, there were already doubts that even Apple would be able to stick to its schedule and keep up with the demand for its new devices. The positive reception of the 2020 iPhone SE last week may have put up a more positive image of the situation. Unfortunately, that may not be the case for Apple’s premier smartphone as famed analyst Ming-chi Kuo predicts the iPhone 12 may suffer even more delays that are only indirectly related to COVID-19.
Most will probably presume that the iPhone 12 might not ship on time due to production delays and slowdowns particularly in assembly lines in China. There’s also the matter of shortage in components as well as design verification that Apple engineers usually do in person. Kuo, however, now reveals two more causes for delays that are also affected by the anti-COVID-19 measures.
Changing its long-time policies, Apple has started allowing employees to take home their work, even if it includes sensitive information or products. It has also started delegating tasks related to the qualification process for the iPhone 12 models to what 9to5Mac says are “local employees”, possibly in China, which will set back the engineering verification testing by a month.
Apple itself, however, has also made some changes to the iPhone 12’s antenna design for 5G mmWave support. Since testing labs are closed, the process for integrating these changes will also push back the launch of the 5G-capable iPhones.
The worst-case scenario is that the iPhone 12 will ship in staggered waves weeks or even months after they are first announced. That may not bode well for these expensive smartphones, especially considering consumer spending habits during this period. Then again, the better than expected reception of the 2020 iPhone SE means that Apple still has a place whichever way the pendulum swings.