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Apple confirms new iPhone will be delayed 'a few weeks' from typical September launch

The tech giant says it'll still launch the new device, just a bit later.

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Angela Lang/CNET

Get ready to wait a little longer for Apple's next iPhone. The tech giant warned investors Thursday that supplies of a potential new iPhone will be delayed, likely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"As you know, last year we started selling iPhones in late September. This year, we project supply to be available a few weeks later," said Luca Maestri, Apple's CFO, in a statement during the company's conference call with analysts to discuss its quarterly earnings.

He added that all of Apple's other product categories other than the iPhone will likely see strong sales, particularly because of the back-to-school shopping season and the upheaval in work and school as a result of COVID-19. "We've got a fantastic lineup of products and we know that these products are incredibly relevant, especially given the current circumstances," Maestri said.

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Apple's admission comes after a chorus of analysts, reports and partners have been suggesting the company's all-important typical fall iPhone launch would be slowed by the coronavirus. The pandemic, which has upended lives and economies around the world, has been accelerating its spread, raising questions about when countries and businesses will return to some sense of what's normal.

Apple was one of the first companies to raise alarms about how the coronavirus might affect its business, telling investors in February that iPhone sales and product supplies across its lineup would likely be hit by the then nascent virus. 

In April, the company said manufacturing had largely returned to normal. But on Wednesday, chipmaker Qualcomm warned of "the delay of a global 5G flagship phone launch." The company's cellular technology is expected to help power the next iPhone.

Apple said it still expects to have "a strong back to school season," which is a popular time for students to buy products such as Macs and iPads. The company said its inventory of the products is "constrained," which could indicate Apple won't meet customer demand.