Every September, almost like clockwork, Apple releases a new iPhone. Based on recent comments from an unlikely source, the CEO of wireless component supplier Broadcom, the iPhone 12's release might get delayed until much later in the year.
According to Bloomberg, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan made the prediction during a recent earnings call, though he didn’t quite spell it out. Tan said there will be a “major product cycle delay” from a “large North American mobile phone” customer. He didn’t explicitly name Apple, but Tan has a history of using similar phrasing when referencing the Cupertino company, and considering there are only a handful of big North American phone makers (Apple, Google, and Motorola—sort of), it’s not difficult to deduce which company Tan was referring to.
“We are in,” Tan continued, implying that Broadcom has already landed a deal to supply Apple with components for the next iPhone. The main question is when Broadcom will be able to realize gains from sales of its components. That will signify when Apple makes it purchases.
“This year, we do not expect to see this uptick in revenue until our fourth fiscal quarter, so accordingly, we expect, our wireless revenue in Q3 will be down sequentially,” Tan said.
Tan’s expectations that the iPhone 12 will be delayed (or at least one variant of the iPhone 12) generally falls in line with a recent report from DigiTimes claiming that volume production of the mainstream 6.1-inch iPhone 12 isn’t expected to start until sometime in July or August—later than Apple’s typical production timeline.
The main cause of the delay appears to be the global spread of covid-19, which made it more difficult for Apple to send engineers to China to finalize device plans and caused a number of supply constraints across the industry.
Based on these predictions, the iPhone 12 launch may end up being more similar to the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017—the iPhone 8 went on sale first in late September, followed by the release of the iPhone X a couple months later in November.
One key difference this year is that, due to limited availability of certain display components, instead of the less expensive iPhone 12 models going on sale first, the pricier 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro may be available initially, with the base 5.4-inch iPhone 12 and the high-end 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max arriving a short time later.
It also seems likely that Apple’s traditional September event may also get pushed back a month to October to better align with the availability of Apple’s new iPhones.
Either way, don’t be surprised that in a year plagued by a seemingly never-ending string tragedies and disasters, the next batch of iPhones won’t arrive as scheduled.