Usually, engineers and Apple executives visit suppliers’ factories in China during this time of year to carry out the latest checks before mass production of the new iPhones begins. This time the situation is different and the control process will be delayed due to the coronavirus.
As reported from Reuters, the ongoing epidemic in China has prompted Apple to postpone many trips by executives and engineers who had to kick off mass production of the iPhone 12. In addition, several U.S. airlines blocked all flights to China until April 24.
Although the production of the new devices begins in the summer, during the first months of the year some Apple executives and engineers fly to China to perfect the assembly processes with production partners such as Foxconn. Reuters spoke to former Apple employees who said how this could be “a serious problem“, Because the company’s engineers need to meet face-to-face with Foxconn colleagues for plan the production of the new iPhones.
Usually, in February, Apple enters the final validation phase of production: Foxconn workers assemble a limited number of devices and the assembly process is reviewed and confirmed by Apple engineers. A source told Reuters that this final test phase is very complicated and that “there are many variables to check and verify“.
The fact that Apple has canceled most of the trips to China will cause delays in starting production, but also in finalizing orders for various components with third-party partners. The situation could stabilize in about a month, for this reason sit will be difficult for Apple to make up for lost time because of the coronavirus.
For end users, this means that the iPhone 12 could be launched a month later than the initial forecast, or that initially the new models will be available in very few units.