Apple's budget iPhone could face delay due to coronavirus

A more affordable iPhone, possibly called the iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2, is reportedly in the works.

Carrie Mihalcik Managing Editor / News
Carrie is a Managing Editor at CNET focused on breaking and trending news. She's been reporting and editing for more than a decade, including at the National Journal and Current TV.
Expertise Breaking News, Technology Credentials
  • Carrie has lived on both coasts and can definitively say that Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are the best.
Carrie Mihalcik
2 min read

Apple hasn't sold the iPhone SE for nearly a year and a half. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Four years after releasing the  iPhone SE , Apple is reportedly once again looking to offer a more affordable  iPhone -- possibly called the iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 9. The device is rumored to launch in March, but the deadly coronavirus outbreak could delay those plans. 

Mass production of the new low-cost iPhone was supposed to start by the end of this month but may be delayed until sometime in March, according to a report Tuesday from Nikkei Asian Review. A separate report from Bloomberg said the low-cost iPhone is still on track, but noted that Apple's plans are "fluid."

The reports follow a warning from Apple on Monday that it likely will miss the quarterly revenue guidance it gave last month. The iPhone maker cited two reasons for the update: The coronavirus is hurting both demand from Chinese customers and production capabilities inside China.

A pneumonia-like disease, the new coronavirus was discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. The strain has now infected nearly 73,000 people and claimed more than 1,800 lives. Apple, which has suppliers in the Wuhan area, said last month that the coronavirus could impact its operations.

Apple's iPhone 9 (or SE 2) has previously been rumored to be unveiled in this spring for $399. Reports have suggested the new iPhone will look similar to the iPhone 8, including having a home button with Touch ID, a 4.7-inch LCD screen and an A13 Bionic chip. (That last bit is from the iPhone 11.)

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Watch this: What to expect from the iPhone 9

50 cool iPhone cases for geeks and nerds

See all photos