Bottom line: While Apple is hoping for China to get the coronavirus crisis under control, some of its most important component suppliers won't be able to return to normal working conditions until May, at the earliest.
If you go by data from CounterPoint Research, Apple's phones have been selling like hotcakes in 2019, especially its less expensive iPhone XR and iPhone 11 models. This year, however, it's going to be more difficult to get your hands on a new fruity device, as the complex supply chain used by the company to build them is expected to slowly recover through the second quarter.
According to renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's production efforts have suffered major setbacks due to the coronavirus outbreak, and all signs from suppliers point to lower production rates.
For instance, Kuo mentions that camera lens shipments from Genius Electronic Optical have seen a significant drop over the last month, with an estimated supply reserve to last one month at most. There is some indication that production will ramp-up again in May at the earliest, but that's about it.
Meanwhile, Reuters says LG Innotek, who supplies iPhone camera modules, was also forced down to shut down its factory in South Korea this weekend. That's because the Gumy facility is really close to Daegu, the place with the highest incidence of coronavirus infections in the country so far.
Overall sentiment is that Apple's planned iPhone 9 (a.k.a. iPhone SE 2) release date will have to be pushed back, but there are some who say otherwise. The new handset, along with new iPad Pros may still see a release next month.
A slow return to normal working conditions in China has pressed Apple to update its revenue guidance for Q2 2020, but CEO Tim Cook is still optimistic about China's ability to get coronavirus under control.
Image credit: Drew Coffman