How coronavirus may be affecting iPhone production

Apple’s iPhone production has slowed down in recent weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, and there are indications that things won’t get better for a while. 

In a new research note (via MacRumors), Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the production of the iPhone will not significantly improve until the second quarter of 2020. 

This is primarily due to decreased iPhone camera lens shipments from Apple’s supplier, Genius Electronic Optical. Kuo says that there’s still some lens inventory remaining – about a month – but predicts that significant production will resume in May. 

But there’s more trouble brewing. On Sunday, Reuters reported that LG Innotek, a supplier of camera modules for the iPhone, shut down its factory in Gumi, South Korea, due to a confirmed case of coronavirus amongst its workers (Samsung also temporarily shut down its phone factory in Gumi). The plant will remain closed on Monday for disinfection, but there’s no word on how soon it will open again. 

In February, Apple said its revenue guidance from January may have been too optimistic, and warned about constraints on worldwide iPhone supply due to the coronavirus outbreak. Besides manufacturing slowdowns, Apple also warned about its stores in China, as well as partner stores, being closed, which affects sales.  

Apple is expected to have an event in late March, in which it’s likely to announce a new, affordable iPhone model, possibly called the iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 9. There are conflicting reports on whether this event will go on as planned. 

The coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, has so far killed more than 3,000 and infected more than 88,000 people.

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