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New Apple 5G iPhone Set To Be In Short Supply, No New Cheap iPhone

If you are hoping to buy a new Apple 5G smartphone you may have to move quickly as ChannelNews understands that stock could be limited in the Australian market, there will also be no new cheap iPhone.

What was set to be months has been narrowed to just a couple of weeks delay in production of Apple’s new 5G devices according to sources in Asia but due to Apple being well behind Samsung in the delivery of 5G handsets uptake demand is set to be high among Apple iPhone users who are desperate to upgrade to a new model.

According to sources in Asia manufacturing is set to begin on a limited scale, with mass production expected to begin gradually between the end of September and early October with the device set to be shown to media shortly.

Overnight invitations went out for what looks like a possible date for the iPhone 12 launch: Tuesday 15th September. According to Apple’s website, the company is to hold a special event – streamed live from Apple Park on “Sept15, 2020, at 10am PDT”.

According to the cryptic invite, the event is titled ‘Time Flies’, so expect to see the iPhone 12 launch alongside a new Apple Watch and iPad

The new manufacturing timetable is way behind Apple’s usual schedule over the past few years, when mass production began in August for lineup’s released in September.

Analysts are tipping that Apple may fall short of its production target for the year causing delays in Australia.

According to DigiTimes Apple+ ordered components for up to 80 million 5G iPhones, but sources say the actual number produced this year may end up being between 73 million and 74 million, with the rest deferred into early 2021, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

At the same time, Apple has also significantly boosted manufacturing orders for the upcoming iPads to meet demand for teleworking and remote learning, sources said, an indication of the company’s optimistic outlook for stable demand for the remainder of the year.

The Nikki claims that production of the 5G phones will start with at least one models, the lowest-priced version with a 6.1-inch OLED screen and two rear cameras. This model accounts for around 40% of the production orders Apple has placed for 5G handsets, sources added. The most expensive model will be the 6.7-inch, triple-camera 5G iPhone.

Apple managed to gear up production for new iPads recently without much disruption from COVID-19. Production orders for new iPads have reached as much as 27 million units for September-December, one of the people said, nearly as much as all iPad models — both new and old — produced in the second half of last year. Apple already increased its iPad orders for the first half of 2020 to meet relatively healthy demand spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, Nikkei earlier reported.

Apple is also preparing a new accessory, known as the Airtag, that will allow users to track non-Apple devices, a source with knowledge of the device said, adding that the new gadget has already gone into production.

What is set to disappear from the Apple roadmap is a new generation budget iPhone with the SE set to be eliminated from the Apple product range.

The iPhone SE released in April helped boost Apple’s total shipment volume and sustain sales momentum as the company prepared for its first 5G iPhone line-up.

Apple’s iPhone shipments grew 11.2% on the year during the April-to-June quarter, according to IDC data, making it the only smartphone maker that saw unit sales increase amid the global pandemic.

The Nikki said that in past years, the company stationed staff at manufacturing sites to resolve any engineering issues in the runup to mass production. Coronavirus-related travel restrictions, however, have forced Apple to do much of this work remotely and to request all suppliers deliver final samples to the U.S. To maintain secrecy, one source said, all items, even tiny ones, were packed into huge boxes and shipped in special-purpose trucks to Hong Kong, where they were loaded onto a plane bound for California, so lead designers and engineers there could sign off on the samples.

“This year this kind of secretive sample delivery increases a lot, but Apple is willing to spend as much money to protect their highly-confidential unfinished products,” the person said.

“We’ve managed to shorten the delay significantly and we are not stopping here,” said another supply chain executive. “The final assembly for some models is still going to be early October, but we are working to keep moving the production as early as possible.”

The engineering verification processes for this year’s new iPhones have been particularly challenging for Apple, as the complicated procedures and major spec upgrades from 4G to 5G connectivity involve a lot of back-and-forth, hands-on testing by both the American company’s engineers and its suppliers in Asia.

The state of California’s “shelter-in-place” order and the ongoing quarantine requirement for foreigners entering China disrupted development of the 5G iPhones so severely that in March Apple even discussed the possibility of postponing the launch of the line-up until next year.

Apple plans to roll out a total of four 5G iPhones with three different screen sizes — 5.4-inches, 6.1-inches, and 6.7-inches — all of which will use the advanced organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, display technology.

The U.S. tech giant initially ordered components for around 100 million iPhones earlier this year but lowered that target to around 80 million after the outbreak of the coronavirus, Nikkei reported earlier.

All production of the 5G iPhones and new iPads remains in China this year. AirPods assembler Luxshare-ICT, which bought an iPhone plant from Wistron in July, will begin assembling a small number of iPhones next year, the Nikkei reported earlier.

Jeff Pu, an analyst with GF Securities, said Apple is betting on the 5G iPhones to drive sales growth. “Even though it’s the year of COVID-19, Apple is reserving relatively healthy orders from the supply chain and we don’t see much disruption for the final production. The delay looks manageable at the moment,” he said.

“We think Apple iPhone sales will be mostly boosted by the rolling out of all 5G models by the end of this year, and we expect Apple’s iPhone unit sales will return to growth, reaching an estimated 215 million units by next year of 2021, from 190 million units for this year.”

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