|Bid||247.00 x 800|
|Ask||247.15 x 1200|
|Day's range||247.05 - 255.87|
|52-week range||170.27 - 327.85|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.29|
|PE ratio (TTM)||19.67|
|Earnings date||27 Apr 2020 - 03 May 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||3.08 (1.19%)|
|Ex-dividend date||06 Feb 2020|
|1y target est||313.57|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- If, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, you are in Minneapolis and you drop your iPhone, who will repair the cracked screen? If you’d like an authorized repair, with Apple Inc.-certified parts, the options are suddenly limited. Apple’s retail stores, and the service centers inside of them, are closed indefinitely. Similarly, Twin Cities-based Best Buy Co., which offers authorized Apple repairs in its stores, is not repairing products in-house at this time. Apple maintains a modest network of authorized repair shops, but — thanks to Covid-19 business shutdowns — the closest one available to repair an iPhone is nearly 200 miles away, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. That leaves one reasonable authorized repair option: Mail in that iPhone and wait.Admittedly, this might not appear to be the most pressing issue during a pandemic. But consider: Covid-19 is spreading at a time when dependence on personal technology is more important than ever, connecting Americans to family, work, health information and news. As that dependence has grown, manufacturers of electronics — from mobile phones to essential medical equipment like ventilators — have made design and policy decisions that restrict device repair to themselves and their chosen representatives. In normal times, those decisions might amount to an expensive inconvenience for consumers. During a pandemic, they raise a pressing question: Who will repair our stuff if the manufacturers can’t or won’t?It’s not a question the U.S. faced during the 1918 flu pandemic. A century ago, most of the devices purchased by Americans were mechanical in nature, and home mechanics were plentiful. The Ford Model T circa 1918 was designed to be serviced by its owner or anyone nearby with basic mechanical skills. In the 1920s, American farmers started the mass adoption of mechanical tractors, and so had to develop formidable repair skills to keep them running. When World War II arrived, and farm equipment and repair parts became scarce, manufacturers like John Deere Inc. actively sought to aid farmers in the personal upkeep of their equipment. That self-reliant spirit persisted for most of the 20th century, epitomized by weekend mechanics working on their cars in the driveway.By the early 1990s, however, the skills and motivation to repair at home, or to start repair businesses, were in decline. As manufacturing jobs shuttered, mechanical and repair skills withered. At the same time, globalized manufacturing drove down the costs of manufactured goods. Once-expensive repairable televisions gave way to disposable $300 flat screens. The TV repair shop, once a fixture in American cities, has largely disappeared.More intentional reasons for the decline also emerged. Device, appliance and even farm-tractor manufacturers opted to wring more money out of their service and parts businesses by restricting access to repair parts and documentations. For example, on March 31, camera manufacturer Nikon Corp. will stop providing official parts, tools, software and repair manuals to the U.S. repair shops in its authorized repair network. (In 2012, it stopped selling parts to independent camera repair shops.) It will now only provide certified repair and parts in two Nikon-owned facilities. For camera owners, that means waiting longer, and probably paying more, to get their stuff fixed. For independent repair shops, it means one less reason to stay in business.Nikon’s practices aren’t unique. Apple restricts parts, diagnostic software and repair documentation to its stores and a small network of authorized repair shops. It also actively dissuades independent repair shops from fixing Apple products. One of the world’s most valuable companies is suing a small, unauthorized Norwegian phone repair shop for selling aftermarket iPhone screens. Without aftermarket parts, such shops cannot fix iPhones.And John Deere, once a proponent and partner in the independent repair of tractors, has built a repair monopoly by installing software that effectively prevents anyone but its authorized service centers from doing even simple repairs to its tractors. For some farmers, this practice has resulted in delays in planting, a particularly ominous prospect during a spring pandemic. Equally ominous, if not more so, is the prospect that in-house medical technicians — especially in hospitals in emerging markets — will not have access to repair documentation, software and tools in the midst of the pandemic.It's too late for manufacturers to provide more convenient, affordable and accessible repair options to most consumers and businesses during this pandemic. But there are some radical steps that could easily make a difference right now. For example, manufacturers of medical equipment such as ventilators should release repair guides for therapy devices to hospitals rather than forcing them to wait for a certified technician. Similarly, Deere and other farm equipment manufacturers should suspend their software locks for the 2020 planting season, at a minimum, to ensure that there’s no delay in servicing needed farm equipment. Finally, consumer electronics manufacturers, including Apple, should post information on how consumers can quickly obtain simple repairs like battery and screen replacements while authorized repair is unavailable.Longer-term, the states and federal government need to pass long-stalled “Right to Repair” legislation to expand access for all Americans. Key provisions include requirements that manufacturers make repair documentation for their products freely available, and sell parts and diagnostics to independent repair operations at a fair market price.Self-reliance has long been a part of the American self-image. Giving back the right to repair stuff is a good way to ensure it’s maintained during and after Covid-19.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Adam Minter is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the author of “Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade” and the forthcoming "Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- America has more than 100,000 coronavirus cases, but it’s unclear what path the mortality rate will take in the coming weeks. Italy reported its highest number of deaths in one day, with 969 lost over a 24-hour period. Spain continues to suffer a huge daily toll as well. While Italy’s infection rate is showing signs of flattening, the U.S. numbers continue apace. New York makes up almost half of American infections.Bloomberg is mapping the pandemic globally and across America. For the latest news, sign up for our Covid-19 podcast and daily newsletter.Here are today’s top storiesThe U.S. House of Representatives approved the $2 trillion rescue package and President Donald Trump signed it. For those who will get one, this is when your $1,200 check will arrive. Markets still fell, as did U.S. consumer sentiment—by the most since October 2008.Trump refused desperate requests that he use the Defense Production Act to make hospital ventilators, saying the private sector would step up. GM did, but was apparently slowed by White House inaction. On Friday, Trump sought to blame GM, though the company said it was building them at cost and without a federal contract. Then Trump invoked the DPA, telling GM to do what it was already doing. It’s unclear what happened, but one Democrat praised Trump anyway. “We were suggesting to do that over a month ago,” said Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden. “But the point is, he’s done it, and I congratulate him for it.”Just as a hot job market was pulling in struggling Americans, the pandemic turned it ice cold, creating barriers to work that may persist after the outbreak recedes.The Trump administration recently refused to make an exception for a key component of hand sanitizer dispensers that is subject to a 25% tariff, part of Trump’s trade war with China. At the same time, it exempted non-Covid-19 related products, including Apple watches.Pounded by a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as the collapse of demand due to the pandemic, the U.S. oil industry is showing signs of implosion. In one corner, crude prices turned negative—as in, producers are paying consumers to take their oil.While some cities have ceased recycling during the pandemic, the Trump administration went one further, citing the crisis as justification for a broad relaxation of U.S. pollution regulation. A former EPA official said it’s “essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules.”What’s Luke Kawa thinking about? The Bloomberg cross-asset reporter is mulling the U.S. bailout legislation. He says the bond market doesn’t think its big enough to move the dial for growth and inflation. More will be needed, Luke says, as governors warn that the package doesn’t meet their financial needs, and planned austerity measures are already piling up.What you’ll need to know tomorrowChina factories are restarting, but European orders are vanishing. Truckloads of urns raise questions about China’s death toll. The airlines most in danger of collapsing because of Covid-19. Watching pollution over an idled Europe dissipate from space. Pakistan intercedes to stop the struggling rupee from plunging. Bloomberg Opinion: Give social media a break this weekend. Businessweek: Take a submarine to the deepest part of the sea.What you’ll want to read in Bloomberg PursuitsAs American shoppers struggle with buying food in crowded, poorly stocked supermarkets, and local farmers scrape to replace revenue from now-shuttered restaurants, a symbiotic relationship is developing at the local farmers’ market. Growers are making much needed money and consumers can breathe easier, and further apart, as they buy their groceries in the age of pandemic. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. joined technology giants such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google in launching Covid-19 screening tools for users to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.The Cupertino, California-based company on Friday released an app for iPhones and iPads with information abut the pandemic and questions to help users determine if they should be tested for the illness. Apple also released a corresponding website with similar functions. The company said it partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build the tools.Apple previously added CDC guidelines about social distancing and curbing the spread of the virus to many of its online platforms, including its website, the App Store and Apple Music. It also recently added answers about the virus to its Siri digital assistant.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
By John Jannarone, IPO Edge High Times is now vertically integrated. Formally known as Hightimes Holding Corp., the owner of the eponymous magazine and operator of Cannabis Cup events, announced it has a signed letter of intent to acquire California-based cannabis holding company Humboldt Heritage Inc. along with its subsidiaries Humboldt Sun Growers Guild and […]
(Bloomberg) -- Wistron Corp., one of Apple’s manufacturing partners, said this week half its capacity could reside outside China within a year. The declaration underscored how the Asian assemblers that keep the world supplied with iPhones and other gadgets are shifting to a higher gear after the coronavirus showed the folly of staking everything on one country.The move in production out of China has been underway since the trade war between Washington and Beijing reached its zenith last year. Now, Covid-19 is expediting that. Decisions by companies like Wistron and other Apple Inc. partners including Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Inventec Corp. and Pegatron Corp., could re-shape tech supply chains.Read more: Trump Tumult Has Gadget Giants Splitting Along U.S.-China LinesTaipei-listed Wistron is targeting India -- where it’s already making some iPhones -- along with Vietnam and Mexico, setting aside $1 billion to fund the expansion this year and next. “We understand from a lot of messages from our customers that they believe this is something we have to do,” Chairman Simon Lin said on an earnings call. “They’re happy and appreciate that we can continue to make such a move and they will continue to work with us.”IPhone assembler Pegatron is also diversifying manufacturing sites, including by adding capacity back home in Taiwan. Chief Executive Officer Liao Syh-jang said Thursday the company hopes to kick-start manufacturing operations in Vietnam in 2021 after setting up a new plant in Indonesia last year, and it’s further looking at India as a location for new facilities. It said on Friday it had agreed to purchase land and a plant in northern Taiwan.Apple’s main assembly partner for AirPods, Inventec, said Tuesday it’s preparing to establish a unit in Vietnam.More than any other assembler, Hon Hai encapsulated how the coronavirus brought the world’s No. 2 economy to a standstill. Better known as Foxconn, it augurs a potential shift in a global production paradigm that’s governed the electronics industry well over three decades. The company also has facilities in India, where it began churning out iPhones last year, and Vietnam. “Trade, the virus, all these things will make the world very different in the next decade,” Alex Yang, the company’s investors relations chief, told investors in a recent call.It’s unlikely that China will fully give up its place as the world’s electronics workshop anytime soon. That’s because it’s difficult to replicate the intricate network of suppliers, competent workers, efficient distribution systems and large home market that the country offers. Large-scale relocation of manufacturing capabilities would also take time. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in late February that the company wasn’t looking to make any quick moves out of China in light of virus-related supply-chain interruptions. “We’re talking about adjusting some knobs, not some sort of wholesale, fundamental change,” he said.Read more: Apple’s Cook Sees Minor Supply Chain Changes in Wake of VirusStill, the outward-bound trend is accelerating, especially among smaller-scale manufacturers. That extends to gadget makers serving customers other than Apple. Meiloon Industrial Co., which makes speakers and counts Harman International Industries Inc. and Xiaomi Corp. among its clients, said it’s seeking alternatives to China-based production and speeding up a move of capacity to places like Taiwan and Indonesia, spokesperson Eva Kuo said in a phone interview.The singularly trying experience of dealing with the outbreak in China will reverberate well after Covid-19 subsides, raising questions about the globalized business model of modern corporations. “It’s a wake-up call,” Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, told Bloomberg Television last month. “China was a given, it was the perfect infrastructure for us to source and buy from there, and to sell. Now of course we have to reconsider scenarios, how to deal with China in the future.”(Updates with Pegatron’s facility investment in Taiwan in fourth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp. said fallout from the coronavirus may wipe out a previously projected increase in its profit and force it to delay an earnings report scheduled for April.The Japanese company said two factories in China are returning to normal operation but continue to face component shortages, while facilities in Malaysia and U.K. will remain shut until middle of April because of government requests. Sony said it can’t dispatch employees to these locations to discuss assembly of new products.Sony had raised its forecast on Feb. 4, saying operating income will probably reach 880 billion yen ($8.1 billion) in the year ending March 31, compared with the 840 billion yen forecast in October. If profit comes in at the earlier figure, that would be a shortfall of about $370 million.“Given their high exposure to consumer spending, it is not surprising that COVID-19 is having an adverse impact on their business,” said Damian Thong, an analyst with Macquarie Capital.Sony joins a growing list of corporations forced to revise or scrap financial forecasts because of the virus.Apple Inc., Expedia Group Inc., and Twitter Inc. are among the technology companies that have withdrawn or modified guidance in the wake of the pandemic, which has disrupted supply chains, upended demand and forced millions of people to work from home. On Thursday, Dell Technologies Inc. and VMWare Inc. became the latest to withdraw their earnings outlooks.Sony had been benefiting from strong demand for the image sensors that power smartphone cameras, but production and sales of such devices have taken a hit in recent weeks. It supplies Apple and Samsung Electronics Co., among others.A Sony spokeswoman said it doesn’t see any notable impact on the launch of its next-generation game console PlayStation 5 planned at the end of this year.Sony shares have slid about 10% this year.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Apple announced today that they are temporarily extending the free trials on Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X from 30 days to 90 days, giving potential customers stuck at home a longer window of time to try out the software. Apple said the company hopes the promotion will benefit creative Mac users, and especially students, who find themselves creating and learning in new environments. Apple joins a number of other software companies extending the free trials of their products in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
(Bloomberg) -- Call it Helicopter Credit.The Federal Reserve is poised to spray trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy once a massive aid package to fight the coronavirus and its aftershocks is signed into law. These actions are unprecedented, going beyond anything it did during the 2008 financial crisis in a sign of the extraordinary challenge facing the nation.“The Fed has effectively shifted from lender of last resort for banks to a commercial banker of last resort for the broader economy,” said JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief U.S. economist Michael Feroli.The coming rain of credit -- historic in both size and scope -- will be made possible by $454 billion set aside in the aid package for Treasury to backstop lending by the Fed. That’s money the central bank can leverage to provide massive amounts of financing to a broad swathe of U.S. borrowers.“Effectively one dollar of loss absorption of backstop from Treasury is enough to support $10 worth of loans.” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in in a rare nationally-televised interview early Thursday morning. “When it comes to this lending we’re not going to run out of ammunition.”He told NBC’s “Today” show that the Fed was trying to create a bridge over what may well be a substantial decline in the economy in the second quarter, to a resumption of growth sometime in the latter half of the year.“It’s very hard to say precisely when that will be,” he said. “It will really depend on the spread of the virus. The virus is going to dictate the timetable here.”While the Fed can help by keeping interest rates low and ensuring the flow of credit, “the immediate relief” for Americans will come from the Congressional aid package, Powell said. The bill includes direct payments to lower- and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child.Combined with an unlimited quantitative easing program, the Fed’s souped-up lending facilities are set to push the central bank’s balance sheet up sharply from an already record high $4.7 trillion, with some analysts saying it could peak at $9-to-$10 trillion.Beef UpThe bill passed the Senate late on Wednesday and is now being considered by the House.The first order of business for the Fed -- once it has been signed into law by President Donald Trump -- will probably be to beef up some of the emergency lending facilities it’s already rolled out, particularly the ones for corporations which were limited by the amount of money that was available from Treasury prior to the aid package.The central back is then expected to establish its so-called Main Street Business Lending Program to provide help to smaller firms.“Very quickly we hope to stand up a very broad-based lending facility that could be leveraged up to $2 or $3 trillion,” Senator Pat Toomey told reporters Wednesday. “We’re hoping it’s a mechanism to keep businesses alive for a few weeks or months until our economy can resume.”Powell told a meeting of the government-wide Financial Stability Oversight Council on Thursday that work on the program was underway and that it would be launched after the aid bill becomes law.Some or all of the other financing facilities that the Fed has already put in place “stand to increase in size” once an additional backstop from Treasury becomes available, he added.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also pushing Powell and the Fed to do more for hard-pressed state governments on the front lines of the fight against the virus.Bite the ‘Wormy Apple’“I’m telling him to think big and help our states because they are taking a big bite of this wormy apple and they need much more in terms of resources,” the California Democrat told the PBS NewsHour television program on Wednesday.In his “Today” show interview Thursday, Powell said the Fed was “already helping state and local governments” -- an apparent reference to the inclusion of some municipal debt in the central bank’s commercial paper and money market financing facilities.It was the late economist Milton Friedman who floated the idea of a helicopter drop of money into an economy fighting a severe recession. Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke later described that approach more prosaically as a broad-based tax cut financed by the central bank.This is different. Rather than the Fed financing the federal government, Congress is providing money to absorb any losses the central bank may incur on its emergency loans -- some of which will be going to riskier borrowers.And unlike helicopter money, the ramped up lending is aimed not at stimulating the economy but rather at preventing a credit crunch that could make the recession worse.“This is helicopter credit,” said Wrightson ICAP chief economist Lou Crandall. “They’re still in the fireman role rather than the stimulus role.”(Adds Powell comments in 14th and 15th paragraphs)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Let's dive into three blue chip tech stocks that might be worth buying at the moment as the Fed and the U.S. government try to provide a boost to the economy as the coronavirus spreads...
HP CEO Enrique Lores tells Yahoo Finance demand for PCs and printers have been strong as people work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Apple (AAPL) is now expected to stay the iPhone 5G launch due to supply-chain constraints as well as potential tepid demand due to the colossal coronavirus effect on the economy.
Investing.com – Bargain-hunting investors have piled into chip stocks, pushing the sector up by nearly a fifth this week. But one analyst warned of "choas" ahead.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Work-from-home neophytes are providing some much needed moments of levity right now. The Italian priest livestreaming mass with cat’s ears and whiskers accidentally superimposed on his head. The woman who failed to switch her camera off when she took a bathroom break during a conference call. Children and pets generally making a nuisance of themselves. Even if staged, they warrant a chuckle.The laughter, however, doesn’t resolve the difficulties that many are experiencing as millions more people head into self-isolation and log on from home. For all of the telecommunications operators’ assertions that their networks can cope with the peak loads, there are still things you can do to reduce the likelihood of dropped calls or spotty connections. More than that, the small changes you make can lessen the load on telecoms networks more broadly.Britain’s regulator Ofcom on Tuesday proffered advice on how best to stay connected during Covid-19 self-isolation. It’s well worth reading in its entirety, but top of the list was using your landline or Wi-Fi when possible, rather than a mobile connection. Because most of the top video-calling apps are made by U.S. firms, they’re built for users with ready access to high-speed mobile connections, since unlimited data plans are more common there than in Europe or Asia, according to Nick McQuire, head of enterprise research at market intelligence firm CCS Insight.He says the app conferencing companies have neglected the issue of bandwidth optimization in general. As rising numbers of people use video calls — not just for work, but family visits with the grandparents, third-grade art class and virtual happy hours — those problems risk being highlighted. That’s one reason why Ofcom is encouraging the use of landlines. Spikes in network usage mean operators are having to lean on more and more servers to manage the load than usual, Italian data from network analysis firm Tutela Technologies Ltd. show.In the age of Covid-19, video conferencing is an important channel for maintaining social contact, but some products are easier on the network than others. Stuck at home like many others in London, I carried out a series of tests to see how much data each of the most popular apps required for the same calls, as scientifically as I could given the circumstances. On average, Zoom Video Communications Inc.’s eponymous service and Google Inc.’s Hangouts used more than twice as much data as Apple Inc.’s FaceTime or Cisco Systems Inc.’s Webex.To use FaceTime, though, the participants all need an Apple device — not a given when a top-of-the-range iPhone starts at $1,000. And Webex isn’t exactly easy to use, as my girlfriend grumbled while she helped me test: “The setup for this is definitely the worst.” With Zoom, the data requirements dropped significantly when we tried it around 5 p.m., when usage seems to peak — it appeared to throttle its needs as network capacity became limited.At times it might actually be better to use the mobile network instead of Wi-Fi, according to data from Tutela. Since Italy went into full lockdown on March 12th, the mobile network has on average provided a better quality of service(1) until about 2 p.m., after which Wi-Fi connections have given a more reliable connection. That differs by country, of course, but the trend elsewhere is similar. On March 24th, the first day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined stricter self-isolation measures, the U.K.’s mobile networks provided better service until about 9 a.m., after which the Wi-Fi was again more reliable.It’s not all about work, of course. There’s been a massive leap in the demands imposed on the network by online gaming. In the week from March 9th, gaming data usage jumped 75% in the U.S., Verizon Communications Inc. said last week. It’s far better to avoid network gaming if you can. And if you plan to park the kids in front of one or more films during the day, think about downloading them overnight rather than streaming them real time.Netflix Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, Amazon.com Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are already reducing their streaming services’ bandwidth consumption in Europe to alleviate the load on the region’s networks. Using video conferencing smartly could not only make your calls more reliable, but also preempt any limitations being imposed on that technology.And for goodness sake, if you’re on a conference call and not talking, make sure you mute yourself. You know who you are.(1) Tutela considers the test to pass the Excellent Consistent Quality thresholds if it meets all the following criteria: 5 Mbps or greater download speed 1.5 Mbps or greater upload speed 50ms or less one-way latency 30ms or less jitter 1% or less packet lossThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Apple is preparing the ground to possibly delay the launch of its first 5G iPhones as the coronavirus pandemic threatens global demand and disrupts the company’s product development schedule, sources familiar with the matter have told the Nikkei Asian Review.
Hyped up for years, 5G wireless technology was supposed to give sluggish smartphone sales a shot in the arm this year. The global pandemic has put paid to that. Unless lockdowns end and supply chains fire ...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- First it was the Olympics, and now this! Apple Inc. might delay the release of its upcoming 5G iPhone by several months because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nikkei reported early Thursday. To be frank, I don’t think such a decision has yet been made and we still have another month or two before Apple has to finalize a schedule. Apple itself declined to comment, Nikkei reported. Yet, the current supply chain woes are real and could persist beyond a return to relative normalcy in China, as Mark Gurman and Debby Wu of Bloomberg News outlined last week.At stake is more than $260 billion in annual procurement(1) by Apple alone, with satellite companies such as makers of accessories, cases, and software also likely to be affected. While the world will be sad about putting so much of regular life on hold including the quadrennial Olympic display of citius, altius, fortius, pushing back the annual iPhone cycle could have an impact that goes far deeper than Apple investors and the devotees who line up at dawn to buy a handset.In the first few years after its 2007 release, Apple’s iconic smartphone came out in June before a switch to the late September schedule. That regularity gives consumers something to look forward to, and also kindly helps fanboys, tech journalists and analysts plan their vacations.More importantly, for more than a decade hundreds of thousands of people have relied on the tick-tock rhythm of iPhone releases to make a living. The bulk of them are part of the hardware supply chain in Taiwan, China, Japan and South Korea. Companies that sell parts for the iPhone are seeing signs that mass production could be pushed out by up to three months, Nikkei reported.The company has urged suppliers to get back up to speed in China after the Covid-19 outbreak started to dissipate: Foxconn Technology Group, the largest assembler of the devices, expects a return to full capacity by the end of this month.With a new device, however, the complication isn’t merely in getting rows of workers to stand at a production line. Humans need to shuttle back and forth — between Cupertino, where Apple is based, and Shenzhen and Zhengzhou, the two major iPhone assembly hubs — to confer on development and manufacturing. The company sends teams around the world whose sole job is to check in with providers of the minutiae: screws, glue, glass, wiring, solder, circuit boards, paint. There are some jobs that simply can’t be done over Zoom. Not only are thousands of Apple staff in California under shelter-in-place conditions, many who arrive in China would be placed in mandatory 14-day quarantine. Similar restrictions apply for those who travel to other supplier locations, assuming they could get a flight or are even allowed in.As a result, even if every factory in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan were fully operational (which they’re not), there’s a real chance that thousands of people — from management and administration personnel to production staff and supervisors — could be left spinning their wheels, waiting to build a product that’s not even finalized.That would mean unemployment for factory workers and reduced salaries or job cuts among the rest, which will have a ripple effect throughout China’s economy just as its own virus storm looks to have passed. Those companies that make iPhone cases, screen covers, and other accessories need a new handset — and the accompanying buzz — to drive their own revenue. Any delay could be devastating amid what’s already set to be a global economic slowdown.According to Nikkei’s sources, one consideration in a possible delay is that Apple itself is worried the new device may meet a poor reception and that it really needs the first 5G iPhone to be a hit. I disagree. Apple can do without this faster connectivity for another year. Current 5G devices aren’t particularly compelling, for various technical reasons, and so a 12-month delay won’t hurt much in the long run. Additionally, I don’t see Apple delaying launch because of a weak consumer market. It went ahead with the 3G and 3GS devices amid the 2008-2009 financial crisis.A better option would be to find ways to jazz up the current design — faster processor, better battery life, software improvements — and come out with a device that doesn’t include 5G but does arrive on schedule. To be sure, tweaking an existing product isn’t as simple as swapping out one part for another, but it’s the kind of scenario that Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and his team could game plan. We're still six months away from Apple’s annual iPhone release window, and the world now needs it more than ever.(1) This figure is for FY2019 cost of goods sold, which represents more than just hardware components.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.