Evidence has been uncovered in the early iOS 14 code that Apple has a new 5.5-inch entry-level iPhone and updated iPad Pros in the pipeline. But now that the planet is in the grip of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, will this hardware launch any time soon?
According to 9to5Mac, the early code for iOS 14 contains references to a 5.5-inch iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 9 Plus, which features an LCD display and a Touch ID sensor.
We're already had rumors of a new entry-level iPhone with a 4.7-inch display. This now gives us the iPhone 9 and iPhone 9 Plus, hardware that would essentially replace the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
The new iPhone 9 line are expected to be powered by Apple's A13 Bionic chip, the same processor used in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, and will come with either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.
There are also references to updated iPad Pro hardware.
But is all this now moot?
Anker PowerConf Bluetooth Speakerphone, in pictures
Must read: The ultimate MacBook Pro accessory just got cheaper
It's all too easy to be focused on new shiny things, but the uncertainty that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has created could very well mean that this hardware doesn't see light of day for some time. The true scale and scope of the effect that COVID-19 will have on the economy is unknown, as is how long the pandemic will last, how long until there is a vaccine, and whether COVID-19 is similar to seasonal flu in that in disappears, or whether it is going to be unaffected by the warmer summer months.
There are a lot of unknowns.
The economic fallout could potentially be huge, with effects rippling across the board. Today saw market intelligence firm CAPA warn that as things stand now, "by the end of May 2020, most airlines in the world will be bankrupt."
This is hardly a good backdrop for a new Apple launch, and that's not taking into consideration the huge human toll that coronavirus could have.
Then there's the supply chain. Coronavirus has already had an effect on the availability of Apple products, as well as parts to repair products. What the effect on the supply chain over the coming weeks and months be is hard to tell.
My take is that we won't see any nee Apple products until there's some level of certainty and clarity over the long-term coronavirus picture, and that might be weeks away, or many months away.
Fixing up a 30-year-old Swiss Army Knife - in pictures