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Apple May Launch This Year’s ‘iPhone 12’ Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

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Apple last week confirmed that its “‌iPhone‌ 12″ launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be “available a few weeks later,” suggesting a release sometime in October.

We’re expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and 6.7-inch sizes in 2020. It’s not clear if all ‌iPhone‌ models in the upcoming lineup will be available later than usual, or if some models will come out first followed by additional models, but a new DigiTimes report today cites supply chain sources suggesting Apple could adopt a phased launch approach.

Apple may launch its 5G iPhones in two stages, with two 6.1-inch models in the first and another two 6.7- and 5.4-inch devices in the second, the sources said, adding that suppliers of SLP (substrate-like PCB) mainboards for the former models have recently kicked off shipments, with those for the latter to start in late August.

Shipments of flexible boards for new iPhones will peak some 2-4 weeks later than usual this year, the sources said.

Multiple rumors previously indicated the new ‌iPhone‌ won’t launch on time due to development and production delays, as well as reports on delays from Apple suppliers like Broadcom and Qualcomm, but this is the first time we’ve heard word from the supply chain of a possible phased launch.

Rumors suggest the 6.7-inch ‌iPhone‌ and one 6.1-inch model will be higher-end devices with triple-lens cameras, while the 5.4 and 6.1-inch models will be lower-end iPhones with dual-lens cameras and a more affordable price tag.

All of the iPhones expected in 2020 will use 5G technology, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo also thinks Apple’s iPhone 12 models may not come with wired EarPods in the box to drive demand for the company’s AirPods and cut down on costs.

As a result of the later phased launch of the new iPhones, Taiwan’s PCB makers in the supply chain won’t see their shipments peak until the fourth quarter this year, however the makers aren’t worried by the delays in volume shipments to Apple, according to DigiTimes.

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