Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed
Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass production isn't slated to begin until the summer, people familiar with matter have said.
Foxconn (aka Hon Hai) was forced to postpone the reopening of its main iPhone-assembly plant in Zhengzhou as strict quarantine measures remained in force, however the iPhone maker has reportedly raised signing bonuses significantly in order to attract the new workers it needs to assemble its products.
The report aligns with another one published by Bloomberg earlier the month that claimed Apple's next flagship iPhone launch is still on schedule, partly because mass production isn't due to begin until May.
Since then, we've seen mixed reports on the current state of Apple's 5G iPhone production timeline. Last week, Reuters reported that production ramp-up for the new phones has been postponed, but included the caveat that it was still possible that the iPhones could launch as scheduled.
An earlier report from Nikkei suggested that Apple is considering delaying the 2020 iPhone launch by months, but that no decision had been made yet, while DigiTimes claimed suppliers who make printed circuit boards for the iPhone had not been asked to postpone volume production for components designed for the 2020 iPhone.
Apple is expected to release four so-called iPhone 12 models in the fall, including one 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch models, and one 6.7-inch model. All of the devices are rumored to include OLED displays and support 5G, and they may sport a new design that includes more of a flat edged metal frame like the iPad Pro or iPhone 4.
Beyond the 2020 iPhone, today's report cautions that future Apple devices could yet be delayed because of disruptions to Apple's wider supply chain network – Foxconn is just one part of Apple's manufacturing partners, while the tech giant usually spends "months or even years" sourcing components around the world, notes Bloomberg.
According to a prediction made in December by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple plans to launch a high-end iPhone without a Lightning connector in the second half of 2021. The device will supposedly offer a "completely wireless experience," although given the current state of play around the globe, whether it will arrive on schedule is another matter.
In other news, Foxconn posted a $1.58 billion profit for the fourth quarter of 2019, down 24 percent year on year. The decline was linked to trade tensions between the U.S. and China and weakened smartphone demand globally, coming before China's manufacturing industry felt the impact of the viral outbreak.