Apple’s next launch of the iPhone could be delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cupertino, California-based tech giant has announced its latest smartphone in September every year since it was first released in 2007, but supply chain disruptions and travel restrictions may change that, according to Japanese news service Nikkei.
The outlet reports that Apple has held internal discussions about potentially “delaying the launch by months” and citing sources within Apple’s supply chain saying that “practical barriers” may also have a hand in delaying the release.
Apple has traditionally had to send engineers back and forth from their offices to their factories in China to complete designs as a result of the product’s release. But coronavirus has led Apple to restrict employee travel to hospital hotbeds, including China.
Apple’s next iPhone is expected to introduce 5G technology, enabling significantly faster network speeds.
An iPhone delay would be far from the first Apple event affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 people around the world.
Apple announced last week new versions of its iPad Pro, Mac Mini and MacBook Air devices via a press release, rather than the traditional March key. The devices are only available to buy online, as the company last week also said it extended the closures of all its stores outside China “for the time being” due to the pandemic.
To make sure of some analysts, Apple’s release last week skipped the launch of a cheaper version of the iPhone, which can be called the iPhone 9.
Earlier this month, the company also canceled the personal parts of its annual WWDC developer conference, which it said would instead take place in a “completely new format.”
WWDC is one of Apple’s most important events of the year, unveiling new features for its iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as showcasing the latest version of iOS software.