Last week, Apple made its first major move in 2020 after it released the new iPad Pro and MacBook Air. However, the highly anticipated low-cost iPhone did not make its debut alongside the aforementioned two. Supply chain sources quickly noted that the coronavirus outbreak in China forced manufacturing facilities to close down. Therefore, production of the iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 9 as some call it was delayed from February to March. Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 was supposedly delayed, but a major supplier confirmed otherwise.

Foxconn is Apple's go-to contract manufacturer for most of its products for the longest time. As such, the Taiwanese company claims that labour shortages at its Chinese factories have shown signs of recovery. Most major operations regularly commence around summer. It appears that recruitment targets are being met "ahead of schedule at the plants," as reported by The Street.

Industry insiders recently revealed that full-scale production for the iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 9 is now underway. Although the exact date of availability is still up in the air, many are confident that it might be sometime in April or earlier. Foxconn's confirmation is great news for consumers who have skipped last year's flagships in favour of the iPhone 12 series.

Peak production is slated to begin around July to allow assembly lines adequate time to manufacture and ship out units before the anticipated fall release. For comparison, earlier this month, the supplier noted that its facilities were operating with limited staff, which is likely the reason why the iPhone 9 missed its speculated launch schedule.

In addition to meeting its staffing requirements, Foxconn plans to have comprehensive safety measures in place to prevent coronavirus infections in its plants. Market analysts recently shared data that shows worldwide smartphone shipments dropped by 38 per cent last month due to the restrictions imposed on travel and labour in China and in other territories.

Apple iPhone
Workers prepare for the opening of an Apple store in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China January 23, 2015. Reuters/Chance Chan

As governments and businesses urge their employees to work from home, the demand for smartphones, tablets, and computers are at an all-time high. This is probably why Apple released the 2020 iPad Pro and MacBook Air ahead of the iPhone 9. Now, with the iPhone 12 possibly on track for its targeted launch date, it might be a hint that other leaked hardware could ship alongside the smartphone.