It has long been predicted that the launch of Apple's next iPhones could be delayed due to the coronavirus. Now, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes this is a distinct possibility.
Despite the company being able to launch a new MacBook Air, iPad Pro and the iPhone SE while the world is in lockdown, the company's biggest product, the flagship iPhone, could miss its usual September launch window.
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According to Kuo, some versions of the new 5G iPhone will launch as normal, but a high-end model with a larger screen and faster mmWave 5G technology could be delayed until later in 2020.
In a new research note seen by MacRumors, Kuo states that the mmWave-equipped 5G iPhone "will be pushed back" because the design of its antenna was changed in early April.
Because Apple's relevant test lab is currently closed due to coronavirus lockdown measures, releasing the phone in September as normal will be tricky. Kuo predicts that, if the pandemic "can't be controlled well until July," then shipments of the mmWave iPhone will decrease to between five and 10 percent of normal. Kuo believes mass production of this model, which is the latest at 6.7 inches, won't happen until October
There is better news for the rest of the 2020 iPhone lineup, however. These handsets will come with 5G, but miss out on the fastest mmWave version of the technology, and are expected to go into mass production in September.
Apple is no stranger to launching new iPhones in a staggered manner. Although they were all announced on stage at the same time, the iPhone X arrived a few weeks after the iPhone 8 in 2017, and the iPhone XR was also late to the party after the release of the iPhone XS a year later.
Potential delays to a larger version of the new iPhone SE could be more noticeable. According to Kuo, this SE Plus, expected to be 5.5 or 6.1 inches, was expected in the first half of 2021, but is now likely to be delayed until the second half of next year.
As was recently reported, the 2020 iPhone is expected to feature an all-new design, moving the game forward from the iPhone X design that has now been with us for three years. Instead, the new model will likely borrow the same flat-sided look as the iPad Pro, harking back to the equally square-cornered iPhone 4 and 5.
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