Lower air quality in China may be the effect of an iPhone 12 production increase

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Analysts tracking the air quality in China believe that a recent drop may point to a surge in industrial activity related to iPhone 12 production.

The production of iPhones has historically led to a reduction in air quality in four key Chinese cities: Zhengzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Chongqing. By tracking the air quality in these cities, analysts can gauge Apple's production cycles.

"As of October 26th, air quality data from Zhengzhou, also known as 'iPhone City,' shows that industrial production levels have spiked higher recently, about a month later than historical seasonality, which we believe coincides with the ramp in iPhone 12 mass production," Morgan Stanley analysts Katy Huberty wrote in a note seen by CNBC.

The iPhone 12, alongside the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 mini, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, were announced at Apple's October event. The two latter devices come available on Nov. 13.

Apple typically announces its new iPhones in September, though it's likely the coronavirus had slowed down the 2020 production cycle.


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