Sources in Apple’s Supply Chain Dismiss Reports of iPhone 12 Launch Delay

Taiwanese makers of iPhone-bound printed circuit boards (PCBs) have denied reports that Apple has asked them to postpone volume production of Apple's 2020 iPhone by two months, according to a DigiTimes paywalled article.

Taiwan's PCB makers in the supply chain of 5G iPhones have denied reports claiming they have been asked to postpone volume production by two months in line with a likely launch delay for Apple's new-generation devices amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to industry sources.
The rebuff follows a report earlier this week from Japanese news site Nikkei that claimed Apple was preparing to delay the launch of its 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup "by a few months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation.

Nikkei's report suggested supply chain sources also foresaw "practical hurdles" that could push back the launch date, which was scheduled for September, and that the engineering development of the 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup had been affected by travel restrictions to the United States, China, and elsewhere.

In a separate DigiTimes report filed today, company president and CEO SJ Liao of ‌iPhone‌ supplier Pegatron also cited travel restrictions as a factor impacting the supply chain but which manufacturers were working to overcome, although he stopped short of referring to Apple by name:
Commenting on whether the supply of its US-based client's 5G smartphones has been disrupted, Liao noted that the client at the moment is having trouble visiting the factories to make direct supervision of manufacturing and as a result, the supply chain will need to have the new smartphones built without the client's supervision.

However, Pegatron will keep communicating with the client to resolve any concerns it has. As for the market rumor that the client's 5G smartphone development has also been seriously delayed because of the pandemic, Liao noted that both the client and supply chain players at the moment are mainly looking to shorten the front-end processing work for the handsets.
A recent report from Bloomberg suggested that the iPhone 12 models are still on course for a fall launch despite disruptions to Apple's supply chain, and Foxconn this week said that it now has enough workers to meet "seasonal demand."

Rumors point to four new ‌‌iPhone‌‌ models for 2020, which will be available at various price points. All models are expected to have 5G capabilities and A14 chips, and higher-end models are expected to be equipped with new 3D camera systems like the LiDAR Scanner in new iPad Pro models.
Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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Apple’s AR Glasses Could Launch by 2022 as Suppliers Reportedly Ramp Up Development

Apple's rumored augmented reality glasses are under development and could launch by 2022, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes. The full report has yet to be released, but a paywalled preview reads as follows:
Apple AR glasses under development
Taiwan-based optical component suppliers are engaged in the development of Apple's augmented reality smart glasses, which may be commercialized by 2022, according to industry sources.
This follows a report from The Information in November that claimed Apple is developing two head-worn products, including a combination AR/VR headset for release in 2022 and "full-fledged" AR glasses for release by 2023. Those plans were corroborated by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who said the headset could be released as early as 2021.

Google Glasses

The Information claimed that Apple's initial headset will resemble Facebook's Oculus Quest, but with a "sleeker design" that makes "heavy use of fabrics and lightweight materials to ensure the device is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time." The headset is expected to have a "high-resolution display" that will "allow users to read small type and see other people standing in front of and behind virtual objects."

The report claimed that Apple is planning to reach out to third-party developers as early as 2021 to encourage them to build apps for the hardware.

The headset would be followed up by Apple's rumored AR glasses that would be designed to "be worn all day." The Information previously reported that some prototypes "looked like high-priced sunglasses with thick frames that house the battery and chips," but the final design could change. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said the glasses will be "lightweight."

Early reports had pegged a 2020 release for Apple's headset, but the company reportedly pushed back the project. Given the current pandemic, the timeframe may continue to shift, but Apple's interest in augmented reality hardware is clear.
Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Apple Still Expected to Launch High End 12.9-inch iPad Pro With Mini LED Display Tech in Fourth Quarter of 2020

Apple is still on course to launch a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display later this year, according to Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes.

Apple reportedly prefers mini LED to OLED for its medium-size devices and will launch an ‌iPad Pro‌ with backlighting in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The claim is made in relation to a separate paywalled article underscoring Apple's eagerness to adopt mini-LED technology, which allows for thinner and lighter product designs, while offering many of the same benefits of OLED displays used on the latest iPhones, including good wide color gamut performance, high contrast and dynamic range, and local dimming for truer blacks.
Mini LED is expected to get a significant boost in applications as Apple is proceeding with R&D of devices adopting mini LED backlighting, and may commercialize more such devices in the next five years, according to industry sources.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously said that a mini-LED version of 12.9-inch ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌, which is expected to be a high-end option, will launch in the fall of 2020. Rumors continue to suggest that the fall 12.9-inch model is still planned despite the refreshed spring ‌iPad Pro‌‌ models announced earlier this week.

Apple has six mini-LED products in the works that are set to debut in 2020 and 2021, according to Kuo. Apple is said to be debuting the technology in the aforementioned 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌, a 27-inch iMac Pro, a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch ‌‌MacBook Pro‌‌, a 10.2.-inch iPad, and a 7.9-inch ‌‌iPad‌‌ mini.

Kuo did not give projected launch dates for the other devices with the exception of the ‌‌iMac Pro‌‌, which Kuo expects to launch in the fourth quarter of 2020, and the 7.9-inch ‌‌iPad‌‌ mini, which he says will launch in 2020.
Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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Rumored 5.4-Inch iPhone May Have OLED Display Supplied by China’s BOE

Chinese display maker BOE has partnered with touch panel maker General Interface Solutions as both companies aim to become suppliers of Apple's rumored 5.4-inch iPhone, according to a paywalled report from DigiTimes.


Apple plans to release four so-called iPhone 12 models with OLED displays in the fall, including one 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch models, and one 6.7-inch model, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. All of the devices are expected to 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.

The new 5.4-inch iPhone would be the smallest iPhone that Apple has ever offered with a notched display. By comparison, the iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8-inch display and the iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch display. With a notch, slim bezels, and lack of a home button, the 5.4-inch iPhone would have an even smaller footprint than the 4.7-inch iPhone 8.

Whereas the highest-end iPhone 12 models are expected to sport triple-lens rear camera systems with a time-of-flight sensor for 3D sensing, mid-range models like the 5.4-inch iPhone are said to have a dual-lens array and, according to 9to5Mac, may lack 3D sensing.
Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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New AirPods Again Rumored, Launch Timing Uncertain Amid COVID-19

Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes continues to report that new AirPods are forthcoming.

A paywalled preview of the report claims that suppliers of "Apple's upcoming AirPods series" are more worried about the COVID-19 pandemic affecting demand of the earphones than the virus impacting the supply chain. AirPods sales could be affected by factors such as closed Apple Stores and increasing calls for people to stay home if possible amid the pandemic.


Apple released higher-end AirPods Pro in October 2019 with several improvements over regular AirPods, including active noise cancellation, improved sound quality, and water and sweat resistance, along with a new in-ear design. AirPods Pro are priced at $249 in the United States, while regular AirPods with a wireless charging case are $199.

Earlier this month, it was rumored that a new entry-level version of AirPods Pro will enter production by the second quarter of 2020, but no further details have been shared. It has been speculated that the earphones could end up being third-generation regular AirPods with the same design and sound quality as AirPods Pro, but without active noise cancelation. Apple released its second-generation AirPods on Wednesday, March 20 last year.

Launch timing of various rumored Apple products is uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Related Roundups: AirPods 2, AirPods Pro

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DigiTimes: New ‘Entry-Level’ AirPods Pro to Enter Production by Early Second Quarter

Apple's suppliers will kick off production of a new entry-level version of AirPods Pro between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter, according to Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, suggesting that assembly of the earphones will begin around early to mid April.


A paywalled preview of the report, which should be published in full by tomorrow:
Chip and component suppliers gearing up for new AirPods production
Production of an entry-level version of Apple's AirPods Pro, dubbed tentatively AirPods Pro Lite, is expected to kick off between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter, according to sources at chip and component suppliers engaged in the supply chain for the TWS device.
DigiTimes continues to refer to the earphones as "AirPods Pro Lite," but it is unlikely that Apple will actually use that name.

Details surrounding the alleged entry-level AirPods Pro remain slim. It has been speculated that the earphones could end up being third-generation regular AirPods with the same design and sound quality as AirPods Pro, but without active noise cancelation. Apple announced the second-generation AirPods on March 20, 2019.

The second-generation AirPods start at $159, while AirPods Pro are priced at $249.

Related Roundup: AirPods Pro
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Pro (Buy Now)

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DigiTimes: Apple to Launch 12.9-Inch iPad Pro and MacBooks With Mini-LED Displays by End of 2020

Apple plans to launch a 12.9-inch iPad Pro and multiple notebook models with Mini-LED backlit displays by the end of 2020, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.


This lines up with information shared earlier this week by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said Apple is developing six products with Mini-LED displays for release by the end of 2021, including new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 10.2-inch iPad, 7.9-inch iPad mini, 27-inch iMac Pro, 14-inch MacBook Pro, and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.

Kuo expects the new iMac Pro in particular to launch during the fourth quarter of 2020. Apple has not refreshed the iMac Pro since it was originally released in December 2017, so it is well overdue for an update.

DigiTimes claims that Apple will also adopt Mini-LED backlighting for "a few models of LCD monitors," but it is unclear if that refers to the iMac/iMac Pro or standalone displays. Apple's high-end Pro Display XDR uses 576 LEDs, but it is not a Mini-LED display. By comparison, the first iPad and MacBook models with Mini-LED backlighting are expected to have over 10,000 LEDs.

Kuo has previously said that Mini-LED backlit displays will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, while offering many of the same benefits of OLED displays used on the latest iPhones, including good wide color gamut performance, high contrast and dynamic range, and local dimming for truer blacks.

Kuo has also said that Taiwan's largest LED manufacturer Epistar will be one of Apple's suppliers for those iPad and MacBook models.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, iPad Pro

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DigiTimes: New Low-Cost iPhone Component Orders ‘Deferred’ Until Second Quarter

Apple's upcoming low-cost LCD iPhone has reached the final stage of product verification at assembly lines in China, but delayed components mean it could yet be delayed to the second quarter of the year, according to DigiTimes.


"iPhone 9" concept render by @OnLeaks via iGeeksBlog

In two separate reports today, the hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication claims that the so-called "‌iPhone 9‌" or "iPhone SE 2" has reached verification at Foxconn and Pegatron plants, but that Apple has deferred PCB orders for the device from the first quarter to the second due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, suggesting a possible launch delay.
Taiwan-based flexible PCB makers in the supply chain of Apple devices will see their shipments for the upcoming entry-level ‌iPhone‌ SE2 deferred from the first quarter to the second, and their second-quarter revenues may buck seasonal trends because of the deferral, according to industry sources.
Up until now, all the rumors have been pointing to a launch for the low-cost device as early as this month. Rumors have suggested the new ‌iPhone‌ could be announced on March 31, with a launch to follow on April 3. However, it's possible that production on the new low-cost ‌iPhone‌ could potentially see some delays due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China, according to multiple sources.

Apple's new low-cost ‌iPhone‌, which is expected to look more like an iPhone 8 than anything else, will feature a 4.7-inch LCD display, but will come upgraded with the same A13 chip that's in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, according to rumors. It is said to include 3GB RAM, and will continue to offer Touch ID instead of Face ID, with a Home button at the bottom of the device.

The upcoming low-cost ‌iPhone‌ is expected have a $399 price tag, so it should be a popular upgrade option for ‌iPhone‌ users who currently have an ‌iPhone‌ 6 or 6s and are looking for an affordable upgrade that offers the same feature set.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2

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‘iPhone SE 2’ Said to Have Entered Final Production Verification Stage Ahead of Launch

Apple's rumored lower-cost iPhone model recently entered the final phase of production verification at an assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.


A paywalled preview of the report:
New LCD iPhone enters final verification stage
Apple will soon introduce a new LCD iPhone series, dubbed tentatively SE2, which has recently entered the final phase of verification at an assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China, according to industry sources.
Apple is widely expected to announce an entry-level iPhone dubbed "iPhone SE 2" or "iPhone 9" within the next few months. The device is expected to resemble the iPhone 8, with a 4.7-inch LCD screen and a Touch ID home button, but with a faster A13 chip and an increased 3GB of RAM. Pricing is estimated to start at around $399 with 64GB of storage in the United States.

Last month, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple still plans to release the iPhone in the first half of 2020. Multiple reports have indicated that Apple aims to announce the device by the end of March, but those plans may change due to the uncertainty of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak around the world.

With major tech conferences like Google I/O and Facebook F8 having been cancelled on a physical basis due to public health considerations, it sounds increasingly unlikely that Apple will host a March event as rumored. Apple could always announce the lower-cost iPhone and other products with press releases, while offering one-on-one briefings with the media in Cupertino and New York City.

Even if the lower-cost iPhone is announced in March, initial supply may be limited until Foxconn and other Apple suppliers resume normal operations and ramp up mass production in the second quarter.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2

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iPad Pro Update Expected ‘Around March,’ but Production Slow to Ramp Up

Rumors have been pointing toward a significant iPad Pro update in the first half of this year, including a new triple-lens rear camera system supporting 3D sensing for immersive augmented reality experiences.

MacRumors concept of ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌ with triple-lens rear camera system

In a new paywalled blurb published today, DigiTimes claims that production on the device has already begun with a launch expected "around March," which is Apple's usual timeframe for a spring media event in years that it chooses to hold one. The blurb also says that production has been slow to ramp up following the Lunar New Year holiday, with impacts from the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic presumably also playing a role.
Apple is scheduled to launch its new ‌iPad Pro‌ series around March, with related suppliers already kicking off production for the model ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. However, their output has started growing slowly after the extended Lunar New Year break in China with shipments unlikely to peak until after April, according to industry sources.
It's looking like Apple has a fairly significant slate of products ready for updates, so the company may indeed hold a spring media event this year. In addition to updated ‌iPad Pro‌ models, we're also expecting a new low-cost "iPhone SE 2" or "iPhone 9," an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with the improved scissor-switch keyboard from the 16-inch model, and possibly a few other products.

We'll update this article with any additional details once DigiTimes expands its blurb into a full story.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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