Apple is planning to launch its first 5G phone this autumn, with production due to begin in May. However, the ongoing coronavirus situation could see severe delays placed on the phone’s production schedule.
The news that China seems to be over the peak of the epidemic will be good news for Apple’s suppliers there. Namely manufacturing giant, Foxconn.
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The company has seen various interruptions to its manufacturing schedules and operated at a reduced capacity throughout February. Now, Foxconn hopes to be operating normally again by the end of March.
However, problems beyond China could still affect key supply chains within the tech mobile device industry.
Brad Gastwirth, chief technology strategist at Wedbush Securities, wrote in his investors letter this week (via Bloomberg): “Even as China comes back on line, we are beginning to wonder if Covid-19 will impact other supply oriented geographies… While China is improving, the supply chain for the electronics industry may yet see substantial disruptions.”
That sounds like Gastwirth believes the virus’ spread could leave other key parts of the supply chain struggling to keep up with demand. The spread of coronavirus has consistently created unpredictable market conditions all over the globe, so it isn’t surprising to see the analyst urging caution here.
That said, the release of these devices might not be such a display of supply chain functionality – given that they likely went into production before the global epidemic hit.
We’ll have a better idea of when to expect the 5G iPhone as the situation unfolds but, for now, it seems likely there could be severe and understandable delays.