The latest Coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc across the globe as authorities struggle to keep it from spreading across the population. Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, is recognized as ground zero where medical experts rush to contain the epidemic and find a cure. By now, the virus, which is recognized as Novel Coronavirus or nCov, has practically spread all over China and the tech industry is concerned over its effect on the production and shipment of various products. In fact, a renowned analyst projects that it will have a significant impact on Apple's iPhone shipments in 2020.

A report published by MacRumors points out that Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has made adjustments to his Apple-related forecast this year. He specifically noted an estimated 30 to 40 million units will be distributed in the first quarter of 2020. This is apparently down by 10 per cent compared to his original prediction.

In addition to the reduced number of shipments for existing smartphone models from Apple, the Wuhan Coronavirus scare will likely affect another device slated to come out this March. Earlier this year, Kuo shared his thoughts about the likelihood of a new budget-tier handset that will launch next month. Dubbed the iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 9, it is speculated to be a mix of elements from the iPhone 8 and the brand's new chipset.

Meanwhile, the analyst likewise revealed that smartphone shipments in the Chinese market fell down by 50 to 60 per cent as consumers worry about the 2019 nCov. As a precaution to safeguard its workers, Apple allegedly shut down the operation of its contact centres and corporate offices in mainland China due to the virus outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO) already recognized the Novel Coronavirus as a global health emergency. As such, the public is encouraged to take the necessary precautions to avoid contamination and uncontrolled spread of the bug.

Just recently, Kuo was hinting that aside from the new iPhone models launching this year, Apple is gearing up for more hardware announcements in 2020. Among the items that will supposedly be unveiled include an upgrade Smart Keyboard for the next iPad Pro, smart tags, and a pair of premium headphones. However, the ongoing Wuhan Coronavirus problem is expected to cause problems to the release timeframes.

Novel Coronavirus
In China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the deadly epidemic, hospitals are overwhelmed Photo: AFP / Hector RETAMAL