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iPhone 12 release date delayed, Apple says

The iPhone 12 is going to be delayed, Apple has confirmed.

For most of its life, the iPhone has been on a reliable schedule: being revealed early in September, and then released a couple of weeks later.

Now the company has admitted that it will not make that schedule, with the release date seemingly being pushed into October.

“Last year we started selling new iPhones in late September, this year we expect supply to be available a few weeks later,” Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, told investors in a call following the company’s results.

It is very rare indeed for Apple to even discuss the existence of upcoming hardware. But the company has presumably given the public indication because it has kept to such a reliable schedule for iPhone launches in the past, and without any indication customers would likely have presumed it would do the same this year.

Mr Maestri did not indicate whether it would just be the release of the phones that would be delayed, or if Apple was also planning to hold its launch event later than usual.

He also did not give any reason for the delays. But rumours that Apple would be forced to delay the launch of the handset have been around for months, amid problems resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.

As well as the early outbreak in China slowing down iPhone production, senior Apple engineers have been unable to fly out to the country to check early prototypes. That is a key part of the process, and happens before the iPhones enter mass production so that enough will be ready for the usual September release date.

A delay had also been hinted at by Qualcomm, which makes chips for the iPhone, said in its own results that it would suffer the “partial impact from the delay of a global 5G flagship phone launch”. It did not name the phone, but Apple is rumoured to be launching its first ever 5G iPhone later this year, and it is the only major 5G handset scheduled for that part of the year.

“We’re seeing a partial impact from the delay of a flagship phone launch,” Qualcomm CFO Akash Palkhiwala told Reuters in an interview. “And so what we’ve seen is a slight delay that pushes some of the units out from the September quarter to the December quarter for us.”

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