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Apple has reportedly pushed suppliers to reduce production delays

Apple CEO Tim Cook poses next to an image of the new iPhone 11.

Kena Betancur | AFP | Getty Images

Apple is pressuring suppliers to reduce production delays for its next generation iPhone after coronavirus blockades in China and the United States have delayed the technology giant, according to Nikkei Asian Review, citing unnamed sources.

The iPhone maker is planning to release four models in its 5G range with three different screen sizes and is facing delays between four weeks and two months for mass production of these, Nikkei said.

Apple was not immediately available for comment when it was contacted by CNBC.

Apple assembles most of its iPhones in China, but the design team and other functions are located in the Cupertino, California office. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in China earlier this year, the factories that assemble Apple iPhones have closed. They have since reopened.

But in March, California issued an “on-site shelter”

; order that affected Apple staff. Some Apple employees returned to the company’s headquarters in June to try and release the iPhone on time, the publication said.

Sources told the Nikkei Asian Review that Apple was now less likely to postpone the launch of the iPhone 5G until 2021. The publication reported that it had been the worst case scenario it was facing three months ago.

Apple typically announces its new iPhones in September. The Nikkei said the delays reported on where the company would normally be developing for that timeline.

A source told Nikkei that some final iPhone assembly may be delayed until early October and further delays are possible.

Apple’s rivals, including Samsung and Huawei, already have 5G-compatible phones on the market. Although next-generation networks are not as widespread, they are developing very rapidly in some countries such as China and South Korea. Some analysts see the release of an iPhone 5G as a potential catalyst for Apple’s actions which will increase.

Apple has also told its suppliers to build over 45 million units of older iPhone models – the iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE range – to keep the sales pace up, according to Nikkei.

Read the full Nikkei Asian review report here.

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