Coronavirus: Apple delays mass production of four new iPhones

Shoppers in Chengdu in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic (Getty)

Apple has delayed mass production of new iPhone handsets, but is still bringing out four new models this year, according to supply chain sources. 

The tech giant will release four new iPhones this year, armed with 5G connectivity for faster internet. 

But a report by the Wall Street Journal suggested that the company will slash the number of handsets that it plans to make in the second half of this year by as much as 20%.

Nikkei had reported in late March that Apple was preparing to possibly delay the launch of its first 5G iPhones.

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The delay comes in the wake of coronavirus-related shutdowns in Apple factories, the WSJ reported. 

Apple’s biggest iPhone plant was hit by restrictions placed on Chinese workers due to the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year.

Apple supplier Foxconn’s factory at Zhengzhou in Henan province, with 200,000 workers, barred workers from outside the local area.

Apple’s discounts on the iPhone 11 in China and the release of a new low-price SE model have put the company in a better position than rivals to weather a coronavirus-related plunge in global smartphone demand.

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While China, which accounts for roughly 15% of Apple’s revenue, appears to be a rare bright spot, investors will be keen to get a picture of global demand when the Cupertino, California-headquartered company reports second-quarter results on Thursday.

The iPhone-maker has shut retail stores in the United States and Europe following the COVID-19 outbreak.

China is the only major market where it has been able to reopen all its shops.

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Consumer spending is expected to be muted as the pandemic has crippled economies and Apple, the world’s second-most valuable tech company, is better armed with the launch of its new price-conscious iPhone model, analysts said.

“Apple is better positioned than most to experience a rapid recovery in a post COVID world,” Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani said in a research note. “We see demand as pushed out, not canceled.”

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