iPhone 12, AirTags mass production on the horizon

You might think that the COVID-19 pandemic would have a major impact on production of Apple’s 2020 iPhone lineup, but a new report today is saying that at least one iPhone model could be be entering mass production later this month. Apple, of course, is widely expected to offer a range of 5G iPhones this year, with numerous reports saying that there will be four 5G iPhones in all. Though mass production on these iPhones will be a little delayed, it definitely doesn’t sound like it’s as bad as it could have been.

Nikkei Asian Review says that while Apple will begin manufacturing one of its 5G iPhones by the middle of this month, mass production won’t begin to ramp up until the end of September and the beginning of October. That puts the beginning of mass production about a month behind Apple’s usual schedule, as it typically begins mass production on iPhones in August before releasing them in September.

Indeed, Apple has already indicated that there will be a slight delay in the release of 2020’s iPhones, and if Nikkei’s report is accurate, that would likely put the launch of these devices at some point in October (the date of Apple’s freshly-announced iPhone reveal event suggests an October launch as well). Apple is expected to launch a grand total of four 5G iPhones this year, and Nikkei says that the lowest-priced model with a 6.1-inch OLED display will be the one that Apple starts producing first. In all, today’s report says that iPhone alone will count for around 40% of Apple’s total production orders.

Nikkei’s sources also say that while Apple was initially targeting a production run of 80 million iPhones for the remainder of 2020, it’s more likely that it’ll only be able to produce 73-74 million before we close out the year. All things considered, that isn’t a very massive decrease, especially during a global pandemic. Still, development hasn’t been particularly easy, as the 5G design of these iPhones required Apple to repeatedly test samples and components during California’s shelter in place orders.

In addition, Nikkei’s report claims that Apple AirTags have gone into production, which suggests that Apple will reveal them alongside these new iPhones. AirTags are rumored to function a lot like Tile trackers, allowing users to track the location of phones, keys, or anything else the AirTag is attached to. Nikkei also claims that we’ll see the production of MacBooks with in-house CPUs begin later this year, but those of you hoping for a follow up to the iPhone SE in 2021 might not want to hold your breath, because there are reportedly no plans to develop such a device at the moment.

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