There’s something that Mazen Kourouche does every Autumn, and that’s go to the largest Apple store located in Sydney, Australia. That means standing in line for hours to be one of the first to get the latest iPhone.
Apple’s iPhones are some of the most popular devices in the world. Mr Kourouche, who develops software for the iPhone operating system or iOS, says he’s been waiting eagerly for new Apple devices ever since they introduced the iPhone 7. He lists a number of reasons for his interest in the devices including the hype that surrounds new Apple products, the resale value of these products, and Australia being the first country to gain access to the devices. People want very much to hear about these devices, he says. So he makes it his job to be an expert who can inform people.
Mr Kourouche says lots of people will travel from other countries to Australia to gain access to iPhones. Looking at the nation’s time zones, Apple stores in Australia are the first to open when their are world launches of the devices.
However, 2020 has been a year unlike no other, and this year things could be different. Apple’s stores have closed around the world due to the coronavirus, and it’s too early to know if the shops will open soon in time for launches of new devices in Autumn.
In some countries, the outlook looks downright bleak. According to the UK government, it could be anywhere from three to six months before life will return to normal, including the opening of non-essential shops.
Apple has its iPhone 12 patiently waiting for its launch. The iPhone 12 is a significant phone due to its 5G technology. This technology allows it to connect with the faster phone networks that are part of the new generation.
According to the Japanese publication Nikkei, Apple is deciding whether to delay the launch of iPhone 12. However, that’s not all, devices for Samsung and Android may be delayed as well.
China manufactures 70 per cent of the smartphones, according to the Chief Executive of the supply chain analytics company Llamasoft, Razar Gaurav. He also says that when the coronavirus pandemic hit China existent devices in China were disrupted.
Lots of business mobile phone providers UK depend on components made in South Korea and China; two countries hit hardest by the coronavirus. In fact, Daegu, the South Korean city experiencing most of the coronavirus cases in China, is only 20 minutes away from where most of the components are produced.
Emile Naus, a partner at Bearing Point, says the most critical component of a phone is the software, not the hardware. Software, he says, can be developed remotely. So that’s not the problem. The problem centres on testing, which could be challenging to do.
According to Naus, testing could be difficult because security is tight in the industry. Therefore, individuals taking prototypes home to test may not be a feasible solution due to tight security.
Shipping is another issue. Due to the coronavirus, many airlines have suspended flights, which delays ocean freights. Therefore many components and materials may not make it to assembly plants, with the finished products not making it to retailers and to consumers.
Forrester, however, does not see considerable changes to prices of new handsets. Instead, they predict that costs will be cut on older models, which may bolster the amount of entry-level priced models. The prices may lower. However, if there is no demand, new strategies will probably be put in place so that the industry is not disrupted even more.