Apple’s largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has seen a “fairly small impact” from the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak so far, but the company could face a “big” impact to its iPhone production if the Chinese government forces factories to remain closed for an additional week or longer, according to Reuters.The report claims that Foxconn has halted “almost all” of its production in China through February 9 as ordered, but its factories in other countries such as Vietnam, India, and Mexico have apparently been able to fill the gap for now.
The timing of the coronavirus outbreak could impact supply of the new lower-cost iPhone that Apple is expected to announce in March. Bloomberg recently reported that production of the device was slated to begin in February, but the coronavirus outbreak could delay that timeframe.
Given that Apple typically sources components from multiple suppliers, and that Foxconn has factories outside of China, it is likely that Apple will still release the lower-cost iPhone in March, even if supply is limited at launch.
Last week, the World Health Organization declared the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency. More information about the virus and how to protect yourself is available on the agency’s website.