It's been expected that Apple would introduce the iPhone 12 in September just like it has with its past several iPhone flagships, but today a report claims that the announcement could be pushed back.
The reveal of the iPhone 12 could be delayed by "months", say sources speaking to Nikkei (via MacRumors). While it doesn't sound like anything has been decided yet, Apple is reportedly holding discussions internally about introducing its iPhone later than it has in recent years.
Talks of an iPhone 12 "delay" are said to be at an early stage, with one source saying that a fall launch isn't completely off the table. The device could be pushed back to 2021 in a worst-case scenario.
As you might expect, the reason for this later launch is related to the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to supply chain constraints, today's report claims that Apple is worried that the pandemic could "significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones, which could lead to a tame reception of the first 5G iPhone", one source claims. "They need the first 5G iPhone to be a hit."
Apple is said to be closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreaks in the US and Europe, which combine for more than half of its sales, and working to decide if a delay is needed. The company will purportedly make a final decision on the matter around May at the latest.
Today's report also claims that the engineering development of the iPhone 12 has been affected by travel curbs in the US, China, and other countries, which are part of an effort to fight the spread of coronavirus. Apple was reportedly working with suppliers to make a more concrete iPhone 12 prototype in early March, but that had to be delayed until the end of the month since it requires close collaboration.