Last year’s line of iPhones, the first to feature 5G capability, were delayed from their usual release timetable, mostly due to coronavirus-caused delays in the Asian supply chain. Two of the new iPhones arrived on the market in October, with the other two arriving in November.
Now, there’s a report that production on the next line of iPhones could be ahead of schedule.
DigiTimes reported Friday that chipmaker TSMC “will kick off volume shipments for Apple's next-generation iPhone processor dubbed A15 at the end of May ahead of schedule,” in a report that cited “industry sources.” DigiTimes had reported in late March that TSMC was also ahead of schedule with the chips that it makes for some Apple Macs.
There are plenty of caveats here. DigiTimes isn’t always right about Apple news, and TSMC is only one supplier for the iPhone. One supplier being ahead of schedule doesn’t mean that all of them are, or that this year’s iPhone will arrive on the market earlier than their typical release window.
It remains very early in the annual iPhone rumor cycle. BGR reported this week that Apple is expected to once again unveil four models, with a similar design to the 2020 models, with “iPhone 13” replacing “iPhone 12” in the naming convention. Rumors indicate that the iPhones may have a smaller notch, and are rumored to also feature an under-display fingerprint sensor.
That report, also citing DigiTimes, indicated that the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max will each feature 120Hz OLED displays, which have begun to appear on some higher-end Android devices. DigiTimes has also said that BOE is likely to join the list of suppliers for the iPhone this year, after it was dropped off of the roster during the 2020 product cycle.
We’re likely to hear more from Apple at the annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), which will once again be held virtually, June 7-11. However, WWDC is typically focused on introducing the company’s newest software, including the iOS that will ship with the new iPhones in 2021.
The WWDC “will offer unique insight into the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS,” the event’s announcement said.
Most years, Apple details the design, specs, pricing, and other things about the new iPhones at an event in the fall, weeks prior to the device’s release.
Despite the late arrival, the 2020 iPhones have been very popular. Counterpoint Research reported this week that of the ten most popular smartphones in the world in January, the top four were iPhones, as were six of the top ten. The iPhone 12 is first, with 6 percent market share, followed by the iPhone 12 Pro Max (5 percent), the Apple iPhone 12 Pro (4 percent) and the iPhone 11 (2 percent.)
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.