Apple to China 5G iPhone Manufacturers: Ramp It Up Stat

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Ramp it up, please.

That's the message from Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report to its China-based suppliers as it seeks to narrow production delays ahead of the mass-release of its first round of 5G-enabled iPhones.

Apple is facing delays of between four weeks and two months for mass production of the four models in its 5G lineup after postponements caused by factory lockdowns and workplace absences during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Apple has been pushing its suppliers aggressively to make up for lost production time through the pandemic, which shuttered most of China’s economy from the Chinese Lunar New Year through March, encouraging its suppliers to work overtime, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

The development schedule for the top-end 5G model, which uses the millimeter wave 5G band and will be adopted by 5G networks mainly for the U.S. market, is currently around two months behind.

Apple shipped a total of 191 million iPhones in 2019, a drop of 8.5% from a year ago for its second consecutive year of shipment decline, according to IDC. For 2020, analysts expect the company to ship around 184 million units, though only a fraction of those are expected to be 5G-enabled.

Digitimes reported on Tuesday that Apple plans to ship just 15 million to 20 million mmWave-enabled 5G iPhones this year, down from previous estimates of 30 million to 40 million.