A new report today claims that iPhone 12 volume production will begin sometime in July, as the final phase of engineering validation is expected to be completed by the end of this month. That could build up enough stock for some availability in September.

There’s been a lot of speculation about whether the iPhone 12 launch will be delayed beyond the usual September timing …

There have been repeated suggestions that the iPhone 12 is about a month behind schedule, and that engineering validation tests have been the cause of the hold-up.

Apple bans on staff traveling to China earlier in the year means there have been delays to two phases of tests needed before mass-production can begin.

Apple has stopped sending key iPhone engineers to China, which means progress on the engineering validation test prototypes of the iPhone 12 has stalled. Apple readies hardware by passing through stages: engineering validation, then design validation, and then production validation.

The first reports of an Apple ban on travel to China suggested that this wouldn’t impact timings, but that was back in February when it wasn’t clear how long the coronavirus crisis might continue. Subsequent reports, however, pointed to either a one-month delay for all four models or a staggered launch, with the top-end models delayed until October.

Previous Digitimes reports have backed an October launch, but today’s paywalled one suggests that there will be some mass-production during July for all models, which could potentially mean at least some availability in time for a September launch.

Even if the report of iPhone 12 volume production beginning in July is correct, however, it doesn’t tell us what Apple will actually do. At this point, there are three possibilities.

First, hold the keynote in September, with immediate but limited availability of all models. The Pro models would be likely to shift quickly to back-order status, with lengthy delays before delivery.

Second, take the same approach as the iPhone X and XR: go ahead with the September keynote, with one or more models available immediately, others going on sale at a later date.

Third, delay the keynote to October, so there is decent immediate availability of all models.

What’s your view on Apple’s likely approach? Please take our poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Render: EverythingApplePro

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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