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Coronavirus could slow down Apple iPhone shipments

Apple iPhone (Gregory Varnum/WikiCommons)
February 08, 2020

The coronavirus could affect the tech products that show up on your doorstep.

Most of the popular best-selling products, like the Apple iPhone, iPad and Amazon Echo speakers, are assembled in Shenzhen and Hengyang, China, not the Wuhan area, where the virus has broken out.

But most products are shipped from Wuhan, and due to the various restraints on travel there, these woes could affect shipments.

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who historically has the inside scoop on Apple from a manufacturing point of view, said Monday in a note to investors Apple could see a 10% reduction in shipments for the current quarter.

In China, Apple has temporarily closed its Apple retail stores and some offices.

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Daniel Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, says that if the virus isn’t contained by mid-month, consumers could start seeing a delay of “one to two weeks” before getting their new phones. “If it continues into March,” it will have even more of a negative impact.

Apple is expected to stage a spring event to launch a new, budget-priced iPhone, according to Ives, which has been dubbed either the SE2 or iPhone 9 in various trade reports.

The phone is a successor to the SE, which Apple killed off in 2018, and was a smaller, less expensive iPhone for consumers. Ives says if the virus hasn’t been contained by then, consumers could see a delay in shipments.

Coronavirus impact on TVs and PCs

Beyond iPhones, TV manufacturers are also getting hit. Five factories in Wuhan produce much of the LCD and OLED panels produced for flat-panel TVs and computers. According to researcher IHS Markit, production could fall by between 10% and 20% percent this month.

“These factories are facing shortages of both labor and key components as a result of mandates designed to limit the contagion’s spread. In the face of these challenges, top display suppliers in China have informed our experts that a near-term production decline is unavoidable,” says David Hsieh, senior director, displays, at IHS Markit.

New giant screen TVs introduced at the annual CES in January historically get produced in the winter, and released in early spring.

In China, tech giant Huawei returned to work Monday, reports Reuters, mostly in the southern province of Guangdong.

The Chinese government has said over 600 people have died from the virus locally. In the United States, some 12 people have been affected.

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© 2020 USA Today