Apple is gearing up for a late March special event to introduce the much-expected iPhone 9, reports claim, though production of any new iPad Pro models may have been impacted by the dreadful coronavirus pandemic.
Calling change in a spooky market
In January, a report claimed a March launch for the device.
More recently, Germany’s iPhone-ticker.de claimed Apple intends hosting the event on Tuesday, March 31, with the iPhone 9 (or iPhone SE2, as some call it) set to ship April 3. This was followed by a report from Bloomberg, which says Apple is still going for a March launch, but warns these plans may change.
The latter also observes Apple is heading toward launching new iPad Pro models with updated cameras, but warns of delays caused by the impact of the virus on the manufacturing chain.
These claims come as Apple issued its not completely unexpected warning that the coronavirus will impact its business, and as its supply chain partners are impacted by quarantine and other measures as China attempts to stop the virus spreading.
Foxconn’s Hon Hai Precision Industry is understood to be weeks behind schedule, Bloomberg claims.
This has driven global stock markets down as investors react to the news, and what it may mean across multiple industries.
Apple’s reaction to the challenge has been to prioritize the human cost of the disease and to donate millions to support the work of those working to support the sick.
While demand in China has been impacted the company says demand elsewhere has been “strong”.
What is Apple planning?
Rather than being the 4-inch model millions of people want the company to create, the March 2020 iPhone is expected to replace the iPhone 8.
The new device is expected to feature:
- A13 processor.
- Touch ID.
- 64GB and 128GB models.
- 3GB RAM.
- U1 chip.
- LCD display, from 5.4 inches. (Though other reports suggest 4.7 inches).
- Single-lens camera.
- Space grey, silver, red.
Apple is thought to have placed orders for a total production volume of 30 million of these new devices to serve anticipated demand this year.
What about other products?
We think the March event was also intended to see the introduction of new iPad Pro modelsequipped with faster processors and time of flight cameras (and U1 chips), along with AirPods like over the ear headphones and Apple’s rumoured Tag device.
What we don’t yet know is to what extent these plans have been curtailed by coronavirus, though Apple’s profit warning pretty much confirms the scale of the problems it faces.
Things could be more difficult for Apple’s component suppliers, who work within tight margins, leaving very little space for damage control.
There have also been persistent whispers Apple also hopes to introduce a new 13-inch MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air, particularly following a January filing describing new devices on a Eurasian regulatory database.
While Apple may still intend announcing all these products it seems probable supply for all of them may be constrained in the coming quarter, while the virus is contained, and the company and partners continue to invest in alternative supply.
It’s important to note that distribution and transportation networks have also been damaged as a result of the virus.
Apple’s ambitious March launch plans should be seen in a wider context.
The company has several more key events pegged for 2020, including its WWDC developer conference and the fall introduction of its first 5G iPhones.
With services expansion to add a little spice to these events, Apple management must surely hope to push into 2020 as a blockbuster year as it sets the scene for further surprises in 2021.
However, with America’s ongoing trade war compounded by coronavirus impacting company production, Apple didn’t really need was this kind of contagion. Despite which it is refreshing that in its public statements on the matter company management remain laser focused not just on the business impact, but also the human cost.
Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.