Just at the time when Apple engineers usually jet off to Asia to perfect the production of this fall’s next-gen iPhones, former employees and supply chain experts told Reuters that travel restrictions to China because of the coronavirus are hampering efforts.
High-volume manufacturing is not scheduled until summer, but the first months of the year are when Apple irons out assembly processes with partners such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s Foxconn, two former Apple employees said.
“They probably have one assembly line they’re trying things out on,” said one of the former employees who asked not to be named discussing production matters. “Are Apple’s engineers with the Foxconn engineers? If they are, they’re probably making progress. But if they’re not, if they’re quarantined, that could be bad.”
For new iPhone models, the transition from prototype to the assembly of millions of units starts in earnest when the Lunar New Year holiday in China ends in late January and early February, people familiar with the process said… If delays occur at this stage it would eat into the time Apple needs to finalise orders for chips and other parts, almost all of which are custom-made for the iPhone.
MacDailyNews Take: This is one of those things where you really have to be there, on the ground, hands-on, in order to iron out the myriad issues that arise when prepping next-gen iPhones for production. FaceTime won’t cut it. Of course, all of this report is based on mere speculation from third-parties; lot’s of “ifs” above. Apple could very well have engineers there doing the work regardless amid more than a bit of overwrought COVID-19 coverage and reaction.