Apple is reportedly thinking about delaying the launch of its upcoming 5G-enabled iPhone by several months as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic.
According to sources close to the matter, the flagship iPhone 12 will be postponed as Apple is concerned customers will be uninterested in the device amid the global emergency.
The scheduled launch date of September is now likely to be missed due to ‘practical hurdles’ relating to the supply chain, Japanese news site Nikkei reports.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 22,000 people globally and the number of confirmed cases is nearing half a million.
The outlet purportedly spoke to sources close to the matter inside Apple, who claim internal discussions have been held about potential postponement.
‘Supply chain constraint aside, Apple is concerned that the current situation would significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones, which could lead to a tame reception of the first 5G iPhone,’ a source told Nikkei.
‘They need the first 5G iPhone to be a hit.’
It is though Apple will make an official decision by May which will be informed by the most up-to-date analysis and forecasts available.
‘We are not giving it up yet. We are doing whatever we can to sort the issue out,’ a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Nikkei.
Apple has been hit hard by the outbreak of COVID-19 with factories and shops closing to prevent the contagion spread.
MailOnline has approached Apple for comment.
It has previously been reported that the upcoming cheap iPhone, which may be called the SE2, will also be delayed by several weeks.
Chinese factories were forced to shut down after COVID-19 spread from the original ground-zero site of Wuhan in the Hubei province.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts in January the company’s supply chain was being affected by the outbreak.
Mr Cook said the company was seeking ways to minimise supply disruptions despite some of its suppliers being in Hubei.
Most of Apple´s iPhones and other devices are made in China and the ripple effect on production is likely to be significant.
However, Europe and the US are now being ravaged by the virus and with millions of customers in these areas, it is unlikely a new phone will be a priority for many.