Apple is reportedly putting off full-capacity manufacturing of 5G iPhones by several weeks amidst supply chain disruption and uncertain consumer demand
Apple is planning to delay full production of its line of iPhones planned for release later this year by about a month, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
The delay is due to uncertain consumer demand amidst the coronavirus pandemic and disruption to Apple’s manufacturing operations in Asia, the report said.
Apple is planning four new iPhones, some with 5G connectivity, in three sizes – one measuring 5.4 inches, two 6.1 inches and one 6.7 inches, all with OLED displays, the Journal reported.
The news follows Apple’s warning in February that the pandemic had disrupted iPhone supplies and affected its financial outlook for this year.
In late March the Nikkei reported that Apple was preparing to possibly delay the launch of its first 5G iPhones, leading to concerns that the devices might not launch before the Christmas shopping season.
iPhone sales makes up more than half of Apple’s total revenues.
The company usually announces new iPhones in mid-September and begins selling them before the end of the month.
It usually ramps up mass production in the early summer, building up inventory to meet initial demand in August.
This year the company is planning to delay the full ramp-up of production to about one month later than usual, the Journal’s sources said.
One source also said Apple is planning to cut its second-half iPhone production by about 20 percent, although it wasn’t clear if production might simply be pushed back into 2021.
Apple declined to comment.
The company was first affected by the pandemic in China, where it closed stores in early February before reopening them about a month later.
Coronavirus lockdowns in Europe and the US later forced it to shut down stores in the West and to alter working arrangements at its Silicon Valley headquarters.
Unable to travel to China in person, Apple’s US engineering team reportedly relied on video calls to guide Chinese manufacturing colleagues through the assembly of iPhone prototypes.
Meanwhile, Foxconn, Apple’s biggest supplier, has reportedly halted hiring at its main iPhone plant in Zhengzhou in recent weeks.
Apple is preparing to report its quarterly earnings on Thursday.