iPhone 6 Release Date Possibly Pushed Back Further Following Fatal China Factory Explosion

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Aug 04, 2014 01:13 PM EDT

A recent explosion at a Chinese factory, which killed 75 workers and injured hundreds more, may also slow or stop the production of the iPhone 6 and other devices, reports say.

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The bigger story is of course the loss of life, a tragic occurrence at a metal polishing factory in the Jiangsu province of China, but the event will also trigger responses at plants across the country. ZDNet reports that a nationwide safety inspection will halt or slow production, and the Foxconn factory will be affected.

Apple's smartphone, and many of its Chinese counterparts, use aluminum in their bodies, which needs to be polished. The process gives off flammable metal dust--this is what collected and ignited in the poorly-vented Jiangsu factory. Safety inspectors are being sent to Foxconn and other plants to investigate the setups, which will throw off normal production routines.

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The iPhone 6 isn't likely to suffer a delay because of this--not that a set release date has yet been announced--but it may constrain supply. Apple also seems to be short on the sapphire glass rumored for the iPhone 6, and reports suggest it's unlikely the material will be ready for a wide-scale launch. Instead, we might see a limited sapphire glass-edition launch, or a later, bigger model with the new screen material.

The most recent rumor projects an iPhone 6 release date as late as October 14, while other analysts previously projected a late September release. It's unclear to what degree, if any, these issues will delay the phone further.

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