Apple is planning to launch a string of new gadgets later this year, including the ‘iPhone 9′ according to online rumours.
However, the next iPhone as well as a new iPad Pro may be pushed back because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Apple was heavily tipped to reveal the new devices – alongside a few other new bits of hardware – at an exclusive event in late March. It was believed to be held at Apple’s campus in California but the latest reports are that it won’t be going ahead.
California has clamped down on large-scale events due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result Apple is believed to have cancelled the planned event in the 1,000-seat capacity Steve Jobs Theatre.
The highlight of the announcement would surely have been the iPhone 9 – a planned 4.7-inch iPhone that’s the spiritual successor to the iPhone SE. The Apple-focused website 9to5mac got hold of some code for iOS 14 (the next iteration of the iPhone’s operating system) and found clues about the iPhone 9.
The site says it will retain Apple’s TouchID fingerprint scanner rather than the FaceID camera-based unlock method used by the iPhone 11.
As well as the iPhone 9, the site is pretty confident a brand new iPad Pro model is in the works. It says the new tablets will include a triple-lens camera and a 3D time-of-flight sensor (used for measuring distance) that will be mostly used for augmented reality applications.
Alongside the standard refreshes, 9to5mac is confident that Apple had planned to unveil some brand new hardware as well. Chief of which is the company’s first pair of over-ear headphones. Apple owns Beats by Dre but hasn’t yet produced it’s own-brand of over-ear ‘phones. This all stems from an icon found within the code for iOS 14 which shows a pair of over-ear headphones.
Finally, it’s also rumoured that Apple is working on mobile trackers known as AirTags. These will be small plastic squares that you can slip inside your wallet or attach to your keys in order to track them down if they go missing. The iOS 14 code suggests you can use your iPhone to make them play a sound if you’re having trouble tracking them down. A similar feature exists on the Apple Watch which can make your iPhone ring so you can find it easily.
Of course, for any of these gadgets to make their way into the shops, Apple will need to navigate the coronavirus issue. The tech giant has most of its products made in China and production lines have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Ming Chi-Kuo, a leading Apple analyst, has explained that Chinese facilities are not working at full capacity right now and may not be able to reach peak performance until May. Earlier this month, LG Innoteck reportedly closed down a factory in Gumi, South Korea, which makes camera parts for the iPhone.
Apple has already confirmed the coronavirus will cause a global iPhone shortage which is likely to eat into its revenues and reduce profits. The tech giant issued a long, frank statement which paid tribute to health workers fighting the disease but also bluntly warned of its financial impact.
Apple wrote: ‘As the public health response to COVID-19 continues, our thoughts remain with the communities and individuals most deeply affected by the disease, and with those working around the clock to contain its spread and to treat the ill.
‘Apple is more than doubling our previously announced donation to support this historic public health effort.’
‘We do not expect to meet the revenue guidance we provided for the March quarter due to two main factors,’ Apple continued. ‘Worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained. While our iPhone manufacturing partner sites are located outside the Hubei province — and while all of these facilities have reopened — they are ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated.
‘The health and well-being of every person who helps make these products possible is our paramount priority, and we are working in close consultation with our suppliers and public health experts as this ramp continues. These iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide.’
Apple also said that ‘demand for our products within China has been affected’ and continued: ‘All of our stores in China and many of our partner stores have been closed.
‘Additionally, stores that are open have been operating at reduced hours and with very low customer traffic. We are gradually reopening our retail stores and will continue to do so as steadily and safely as we can. Our corporate offices and contact centres in China are open, and our online stores have remained open throughout.
‘Outside of China, customer demand across our product and service categories has been strong to date and in line with our expectations.’
It also wrote: ‘Our first priority — now and always — is the health and safety of our employees, supply chain partners, customers and the communities in which we operate. Our profound gratitude is with those on the front lines of confronting this public health emergency.’
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