Update: Coronavirus’ Impact On Apple’s Timeline For New iPhones
Travel restrictions to China during the coronavirus outbreak have come at the time Apple’s engineers jet off to Asia to refine the production of the upcoming iPhones, insiders have said.
While high-volume manufacturing was not scheduled until summer, the first months of the year is usually when Apple irons out assembly processes with partners such as Foxconn, Apple employees have revealed.
‘They probably have one assembly line they’re trying things out on,’ one of the former employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
‘Are Apple’s engineers with the Foxconn engineers? If they are, they’re probably making progress. But if they’re not, if they’re quarantined, that could be bad.’
Despite Apple using other contract manufacturers like Wistron Corp to make iPhones, Taiwan’s Foxconn usually handles the introduction of new models because the manufacturing giant has the most advanced capabilities, according to supply chain experts.
Foxconn has delayed reopening key iPhone factories in Zhengzhou and Shenzhen after the Lunar New Year holiday but is hoping to resume up to half of its production in China by the end of February.
Senior Foxconn officials who have been forced to work remotely from Taipei since the Lunar New Year have not yet returned to China, an insider told the publication.
Apple has declined to comment on this story and Foxconn has not responded to a request for comment.
Just last month, Apple warned investors that it was unlikely to meet revenue targets for the first three months of 2020 because of the impacts of the virus on production and supply.