Apple’s iPhone COVID-19 delay sends ripples through tech supply chain

For the first time since 2011, thanks to COVID-19, Apple didn’t release a version of its flagship iPhone in September, a delay that has sent a massive ripple effect through the tech supply chain.

Image: iPhone 12 render (image via
iPhone 12 render (image via

Tim Culpan for Bloomberg:

Since at least March, we knew that the next installment of the iconic device would be pushed back due to COVID-19. The pandemic initially hit manufacturing lines in China, but continued to impact the rest of the global lineup of companies that contribute to the product, all the way back to the team that develops it in Cupertino.

The takeaway here is that consumers may not be rejecting the latest iPhone itself, but simply saving their money and opting not to buy any new top-end smartphone amid the global economic uncertainty. Alternatively, the work-from-home trend and lack of other places to spend money (autumn in Paris, anyone?) could spur people to upgrade.

With the iPhone to be revealed next week, and the sales launch likely to be absent the ritual queues outside Apple retail stores, we won’t know how well it’s doing until press releases (to be glowing, of course) and news reports (fawning, perhaps) roll in during subsequent weeks.

MacDailyNews Take: There haven’t been lines of note outside Apple Stores, excluding major flagship stores, for years, since ordering online years ago become routine for Day One and early buyers. “Fawning” news reports for Apple? On which plant doth ye dwell, Timothy?

One of the comforting aspects of a September iPhone release was how it allowed revenue at suppliers to be broken into two distinct phases: ramp-up, reveal, and release in the third quarter; followed by momentum and holiday-season demand in the fourth. This year, it will be crammed into just one period. The first weeks of November and December will be critical for the analysts, traders and investors who parse supply-chain data to get a handle on the world’s biggest tech company.

MacDailyNews Take: Ripples are funny things, they always smooth out eventually.

As 5G iPhones hit the market, and then, hopefully ASAP, COVID-19 vaccines are approved, the beginning of a multi-year Mother of All iPhone Super Cycles begins soon!

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