This month, a deadly new coronavirus has swept across China, infecting thousands of people and leading to huge travel bans.
Now, a new report claims that the coronavirus outbreak could force Apple to delay the launch of a new iPhone that it planned to unveil in March.
The report, by Nikkei Asian Review, claims that Apple had plans to increase iPhone production by 10% in the first half of this year.
Apple asked its suppliers, many of whom have manufacturing centres in China, to make up to 80 million iPhones in the first half of 2020, Nikkei reported, citing people familiar with the company’s plans.
Apple has booked orders for up to 65 million of its older iPhones and up to 15 million units of a new cut-price model that it plans to unveil in March, according to the report.
However, the mass production which is due to start in the third week of February might be delayed due to the virus outbreak, the Nikkei reported.
The coronavirus outbreak has so far killed more than 100 people and infected over 4,500 in China, stranded tens of millions during the Lunar New Year holiday and rattled global markets.
Apple’s shares rose about 86% in 2019, outperforming a 29% rise in the S&P 500 index. The stock closed down nearly 3% at $308.95 on Monday as coronavirus fears dragged down high-flying U.S. chip and technology stocks.
Apple has introduced lower priced smartphone variants to woo budget conscious shoppers and check declining sales of its biggest product category.
Last October, Nikkei reported that Apple asked its suppliers to increase production of iPhone 11 models by up to 8 million units, or about 10%, hinting that demand for the recently launched versions of its flagship phone was picking up.
The iPhone maker is set to report its first-quarter earnings after markets close on Tuesday.
Mirror Online has contacted Apple for comment.