Since 2011, the year Tim Cook took over as Apple CEO, new iPhones have typically arrived in September.
Unfortunately, that schedule took a bit of a battering in 2020, with the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro only shipping on October 23, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max and 12 mini didn’t ship until November 13. This was as a result of production delays associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don’t worry, though, the coronavirus “new normal” isn’t going to become the new normal for iPhone release schedules.
According to regularly reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, in a note shared by 9to5Mac, the iPhone 13 will be available in September 2021, its usual seasonal timeslot.
Kuo’s Prediction Is Only, Well, a Prediction
It’s not clear exactly what Kuo is basing his predictions on. Presumably, he is extrapolating release dates based on the current way that the iPhone production line is running, along with the processes and workflow that have now been established in order for Apple to control the manufacturing without making regularly scheduled visits to China.
Of course, this is only a guarantee if the global pandemic continues to follow along the lines that it currently is.
Having had a year for this to play out—since COVID-19 was first reported—makes it easier to do these long-term projections. Nonetheless, there is always the chance of more unexpected disruption between now and the time that the new iPhone 13 will debut that could push back its release.
The September debut of the iPhone is an important one for Apple. Not only is the iPhone Apple’s biggest-selling product, but the holiday quarter (which Apple actually makes its fiscal first quarter of the new year) is also historically the biggest-earning one for Apple on the calendar.
If the company loses a month of potential iPhone sales, that translates into lost earnings for the company, even if many customers simply push back their purchases until the new phones are available.
Interestingly, if Kuo is right and the new iPhones debut in September 2021, this would be one of the shorter iPhone cycles to date, since devices like the excellent iPhone 12 Pro Max and the more affordable iPhone 12 mini would have only enjoyed some 10 months as the current, top-of-the-line handsets.
Preparing for the Release of the iPhone 13
In the same note to investors, Kuo also said that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is set to start shifting its production pipeline to develop the new A15 chip that will be found in next year’s iPhone 13 devices.
Finally, Kuo notes that demand for this year’s iPhone Pro models is better than expected. However, Apple has supposedly faced supply issues with the Sony-manufactured camera sensors that are used for the two iPhone 12 Pro models.
Image Credit: Aaron Yoo/Flickr