Apple rarely comments on future product release plans, and pretty much never admits things are going less than swimmingly, but broke with both traditions last month by conceding that the iPhone 12 would come out "a few weeks later" than usual. The Apple punditosphere is now brimming with speculation about what the autumn schedule will look like.

A new report based on supply-chain sources gives one theory: Apple will split its late-2020, 5G-equipped smartphones into two batches, based presumably on how much of a problem the firm's supplier partners are having manufacturing each model.

According to DigiTimes, the two 6.1in iPhone 12 models (that's the iPhone 12 Max and 12 Pro) will launch in the first wave, while the smaller 5.4in model (12) and larger 6.7in one (12 Pro Max) will appear a little later. These could well be pushed back to October or later.

This clearly isn't the ideal situation for Apple, but if supplies simply aren't going to be ready in time for the usual September launch slot it may represent a sensible compromise. This approach would allow early birds to have the choice of a standard or Pro model, while the fact that both models feature 6.1in OLED screens eases the pressure on manufacturing.

We'd also predict that the 6.1in models are likely to be the most popular, given that the 6.7in will be the most expensive and some of the demand for petite handsets has been assuaged by the successful launch of a new iPhone SE. And there is precedent for a phased launch: in 2017 Apple did a single press event in September, followed by the iPhone 8 launch later that month and iPhone X pre-orders near the end of October.

This report seems plausible but we won't consider this confirmed until we've seen corroboratory evidence. Read all the latest leaks and rumours in our iPhone 12 launch news roundup.