Apple faces further iPhone 12 supply chain woes, per famed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo

Taiwanese optics suppliers in the frame, reportedly

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Apple forecaster Ming-Chi Kuo has reported some supply chain issues for the firm's upcoming entry-level iPhone 12, with camera lenses from one supplier seemingly raising quality concerns.

A research note from Ming-Chi obtained by MacRumors claimed some camera coatings provided by Taiwanese firm Genius Electronic Optical were cracking during high-temperature/high-humidity testing. The coatings feature on the phone's wide-angle lens.

These production woes are unlikely to result in any further delays to the phone's launch as Apple is believed to use two suppliers for these components: Genius Electronic Optical and Largan Precision. Ming-Chi reckons Largan, also based in Taiwan, will be able to pick up the slack, while Genius Electrical figures out the kinks.

"We estimate that the low-end 7P wide-angle lens, CCM, and final assembly mass production of the 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch aluminium frame iPhone will be in mid-to-late August, mid-to-late September, and early October, respectively," said Ming-Chi.

"We believe that in the uncertain timetable for [Genius Electronic] to solve the quality problem of film cracking, Apple will give priority to purchasing Largan's low-end 1/2.6" 7P wide-angle lens at least in the initial supply stage to ensure that the two aluminium-framed ‌iPhone 12‌ can be as scheduled," he added.

Although Apple will likely be able to overcome this issue, it's not exactly good news for Genius Electronic, which faces losing sales and face. Ming-Chi said he believed that Genius Electronic would be forced to offer Apple steep discounts — as much as 30 per cent — in order to remain a major part of the iPhone 12's supply chain.

Apple's supply chain has taken several prominent knocks this year, starting with the closure of factories in China as the local government tried to contain the outbreak of COVID-19.

Secondly, the coronavirus pandemic forced Apple to delay mass-production of its iPhone 12 series. Apple has confirmed it will release the device in October, in contrast to its usual September phone launches.

Not long after, Nanchang O-Film, an Apple supplier, was placed on a US Treasury Department entity list over allegations the firm was implicated in the mistreatment of China's Uighur Muslim minority, through the use of forced labour.

Nanchang O-Film produced the front-facing cameras used in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. In 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the offices of the firm, where he was pictured inspecting a production line.

The Register has asked Apple and Genius Electronic for comment. ®

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