The coronavirus could delay production of Apple’s 2020 iPhones

A customer looks on an iPhones 11 Pro Max at the Apple Store during the start of sales of the iPhone...
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It looks like the deadly coronavirus is more than just a burgeoning world health crisis. It could also potentially be responsible for reducing Apple's planned production of new iPhones for the first half of 2020, according to a recent report by financial newspaper Nikkei. Previously, Chinese suppliers were poised to deliver around 80 million iPhones in the first half of 2020, a marked increase by 10 percent over the rate at which they were manufactured in 2019. Most of them, around 65 million, according to Nikkei, are for older models, and the rest are for the new iPhone SE successor supposedly debuting in March.

Now, with coronavirus spurring quarantines and shutdowns across China, suppliers have reportedly warned Apple that the outbreak could indeed impact the production schedule the company had planned. The new iPhone SE 2, which is reported to be a new version of the iPhone SE (and should be cheaper than the models around now), was going to begin in February, with additional AirPod production for good measure. Nikkei stated that an executive from Apple's supply chain, however had indeed stated that the virus had created "massive uncertainties and challenges" when it comes to either product's mass manufacturing.

With the beloved SE refresh on the way, as well as a major update for the classic iPhone design this year, this obviously isn't the best news Apple could possibly receive. The company was positioning to have a big year, if a number of new leaks were to be believed, but the coronavirus could very well single-handedly ensure far fewer iPhones get produced. But with such a deadly epidemic on our hands, perhaps phones should be the least of anyone's worries.

The newly-discovered coronavirus has been taking a massive toll on China, and the respiratory illness has reached additional parts of the world this winter. First reported in late December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, it's been spreading exponentially ever since, with several cases reported in the United States as well.

The deadly virus can cause severe respiratory distress and additional complications similar to that of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and there's currently no vaccine or antiviral treatment available. The official death toll from coronavirus has topped 100, with at least 4,500 infected throughout a dozen countries. In other words, it's not something we can just sweep under the rug.

Transmission can happen even between individuals who show no symptoms, and in fact experts believe the confirmed number of cases in the world could number closer to 100,000 with this in mind. As a result, China has locked down over 15 of its cities and has a quarantine in place to try and corral 50 million people to keep the virus from spreading.

Whether or not iPhone production will be impacted by coronavirus still remains to be seen. and then we can move this sentence from earlier to be the kicker: But with such a deadly epidemic on our hands, perhaps phones should be the least of anyone's worries.