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iPhone 12 – Production Constraints Seem to be Waning Off; Foxconn Returns to Normal

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In an ironical twist to the Coronavirus scare that has now been officially declared a pandemic, China from where it all started may be back to normalcy sooner than anticipated. This has been conveyed by the founder of Foxconn, Terry Gou Tai-ming. He claims their assembly units in China and Vietnam have not only resumed production but have been able to recover a lot of territory lost due to the disruption caused by the virus. The exact words used by Foxconn’s founder are their Chinese units have “exceeded their expectations and imagination”. This can only be construed to mean that the factories have swiftly returned to the levels of production capacity they had not anticipated.

Apple Could be the Biggest Beneficiary

Though Foxconn undertakes contract manufacturing of smartphones and other electronic devices for multiple brands, Apple is one of their key customers. If Foxconn says it can make up for the production lost, the fears expressed in the past few weeks that Apple’s launch plans could get impacted may be baseless. Incidentally, Foxconn has plants in Vietnam, India, and Mexico which could also make up the shortfall. Foxconn has clearly stated that at least iPhone production will not be a major issue.

Apple iphone 12

US Market May be the New Issue

The issue has now changed colors. While it was China which was the epicenter of the Coronavirus and it was thought the whole world would be affected due to production disruption in that country, things have changed. China seems to be returning to normal with just single-digit new cases being detected positive in the past few days. In a country like the US, things are turning from bad to worse. There is virtual panic in the country and the massive number of tests that should have been conducted by now are not being done.

Europe too has its difficulties with Italy being one of the worst-affected countries. If this situation worsens or even remains the same for some time, companies like Apple may not be able to push their premium smartphones in these markets. This is what the Foxconn founder has also expressed by saying if they end up producing and creating a stockpile of inventory that cannot be sold, it could be a worse situation than if they had not produced the phones at all.  This is some food for thought as Apple, which has already clocked poor sales this quarter and has issued even lower guidance for the next, will be hard-pressed to revisit its marketing plans.

Elizabeth Kartini, She’s an apple product expert, worked as an Apple Authorized representative and a former physics & mathematics teacher for 2 years. Her experiences help formulated her interest and proficiency in writing as a journalist in the mobile technology industry. [email protected]

Apple

iPhone orders expected to fall amid virus spread, 5G iPhone production postponed

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Apple iphone 11
  • Demand for new iPhones may fall in the US and Europe markets.
  • iPhone 12 production slowed down by Apple amid virus spread.
  • Mixed reports are coming from different suppliers of components, making it difficult to predict anything.

According to a report published in Reuters on Friday, the Apple contractors are expecting a steep fall in demand for new iPhones amid virus spread. The world economy is under immense pressure because of the ongoing pandemic and its effects will affect demand as well. The corporations are already concerned over the loss of workforce, and now a decline in consumer demand has become an alarming issue.

Factories that produce devices and components for Apple in China are back in action; however, Apple is not sure how much demand will be there in the coming days for the current iPhone models. There are chances that if Apple launches a new iPhone in the coming months, the excitement Apple users show will be missing.

Apple iphone

Apple expecting to see fall in demand amid virus spread

Factories in China functional again but who will buy the iPhones?

Sources suggest that Apple is no longer worried about the manpower and material shortage in China. The main concern has shifted to the demand from the US and Europe. The virus spread adversely hits the western nations and in such situation, no company will expect a similar response to new devices in the market according to the sourced one company planned to move 70 million iPhone displays in 2020.

However, since the situation got worse across the globe, they have reduced that estimate to 58 million units already. One of the suppliers located in Malaysia said that things are changing course on day to day basis. It is getting harder to predict anything because of the disrupted supply chain.

What different agencies say about the behind-the-scene strategy of Apple?

A report from Nikkei claimed that Apple has decided to postpone a production ramp-up for iPhone 12 that is expected to come with 5G capabilities. The handset may see a fall launch, but the number of devices available will be much lesser than before. Apple is expected to postpone the typical launch cycle by months if the situation does not get better in the coming months. COVID-19 has resulted in strict travel restrictions that will play a significant role in delaying development.

As of now, the key suppliers of Apple components such as A-series chipmaker TSMC and Taiwanese PCB manufacturers are still expecting to have the usual release in the fall this year. Overall, the smartphone market is expecting a sudden fall in demand in the coming weeks. Though Apple is expecting up to 18% fall in demand in March 2020 quarter, the remaining year can bring a much scarier picture. Mixed reports are coming from across the supply chain, and the picture can get clearer after a few months once the situation comes under control.

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Apple expected to Come up with AR/VR Controller with iOS 14 in 2021 or 2022 and it’s Exciting

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Apple VR controller
  • Apple might launch an AR/VR headset in 2021 or 2022
  • HTC’s Viva hardware could be the base for testing as suggested by leaks
  • Geo-located crosswalk bowling game under testing near Apple Park
  • iOS 14 may have AR/VR centric apps and options

In recent years, Apple has shown a lot of interest in AR/VR technology. The company has worked extensively on frameworks like RealityKit and ARkit. The creative tools like Reality composers and Reality Converters along with hardware like LiDAR Scanner on iPad Pro’s latest model make it evident that Apple has a lot planned for the future.

Recent reports suggested that Apple is planning to launch an AR/VR combination headset that may hit the market in 2021 or 2022. The recent leaks accessed by MacRumors indicate that these are not just rumors or “fan theories,” but Apple is indeed working on this project. The leaked build of iOS 14 is making rounds on the internet and has made AR/VR enthusiasts excited about the development.

The images show a generic-looking controller than reminds the shape and build of HTC’s Viva Focus Headset that was released in 2018. In 2017, Mark Gurman, who is with Bloomberg, reported that the engineers from Apple were using HTC Viva hardware for internal testing. Though the generic controller is more like the HTC controller, those who are familiar with the gadgets by Apple believe that the actual product will be a polished one.

Where is Apple developing the AR/VR controller?

The leaked information on the controller also contains a geo-located crosswalk bowling game. The users can trigger the game at an intersection near “Mathilda 3,” which is an Apple office at 555 N Mathilda Ave in Sunnyvale, California. It allows users to access the game and play bowling using the crosswalk as a lane. There are rumors that Apple is developing an AR/VR headset at Apple Park that only a few miles from Mathilda 3.

Apple AR headset

Basic design of Apple controller

A few weeks back, some reports came out about iOS 14 that had some information about an AR app “GOBI.” It is believed that the company is using this application along with the QR codes to test augmented reality experiences. The codes trigger experiences associated with Mac Pro, Starbucks, Apple Watch, Apple Store and a movie poster.

What are the possible hurdles in the development because of the pandemic?

All the information that is coming out about iOS 14 suggests that Apple is heavily investing in the AR/VR project. The development is slower than expected and as the ongoing pandemic has forced a lot of tech companies to either halt or slow down their future projects and hence AR/VR headset may take longer than the company anticipated. The engineers at Apple are mostly working from home at the moment which is also a major setback for the company as information sharing between teams is slower than usual.

AR/VR technology has a bright future and in the coming years, more companies are going to invest in the technology. From travel to real estate and from education to the movie experience, AR/VR technology can make life much simpler and easier. Apple would not want to miss the opportunity and hopefully, they launch the controller with iOS 14.

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iPhone 12 : Conflicting Reports on Deferment of Launch this Fall

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  • Delays caused due to the COVID-19 disruptions cited as one reason for the postponement
  • Supply chain issues and delays due to lockdown and travel restrictions also pointed out
  • The counterpoint is that Apple starts working on its models years before their release and delays like these won’t affect the launch schedule

Apple Inc. may decide to postpone the launch of the iPhone 12 models at the usual Fall event in the month of September. The disruptions caused by the Coronavirus outbreak have delayed the company’s plans to finalize the design and to freeze the various specifications etc. Apple generally holds a series of meetings with the vendors so that the company’s viewpoints can be conveyed to them properly. These meetings could not be held due to travel restrictions. All these are pointed out in the report by Nikkei Asian Review and it concludes that the company will delay the release of its first set of 5G iPhones.

Apple iphone 12 5G

iPhone 11 models; There will be considerable improvements over these in the iPhone 12

Would the Market Dynamic Affect the Prospects?

The other important question is if Apple will take a decision to defer the launch of the iPhone 12 due to other considerations like market sentiments. The implied meaning here is the COVID-19 lockdown could last a month or two before the governments decide to lift their restrictions. For many, life may never be the same again. The loss of jobs and salaries may have adverse effects on the economy. The term used by economists is “market sentiment”. This might be low. This is usually explained by a sense of no desire to make new purchases. Weak consumer demand is another way of expressing the situation. Will Apple go ahead and launch its flagship smartphone with all these backgrounds?

Why Apple May Stick with its Schedule

There is a counterpoint to this as well. Those who don’t think Apple would be affected by any of this have their own take. Their first assertion is that Apple starts working on an iPhone model year in advance. It is not a company that releases a model one year and then sits down to work on the next year’s model. It’s a long-drawn process at Apple and a few months’ delays here and there won’t matter.

As for consumer demand, Apple will not get swayed by such considerations and will go ahead with the launch in September 2020.

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