While we’ve seen plenty of rumors surrounding the iPhone 8’s design and features, we’ve heard less about when the latest Apple flagship will actually launch. Today, we might be getting a clearer picture of when we’ll be able to get our hands on this year’s premium iPhone.
Many rumors seemed to predict that this year’s premium OLED iPhone 8 (or iPhone Edition) would be ready in time for a September launch — which is when Apple typically announces new devices. On March 3, DigiTimes, a publication that has a decent track record of covering Apple’s supply chain, said that production of the OLED iPhone is unlikely to start until September due to a redesigned Touch ID. Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities made a similar prediction in February, Business Insider reported.
Today, Kuo published a new report suggesting that the premium OLED iPhone will actually be unveiled in September, but will face “severe supply shortages” in the wake of its release, Fortune reported. According to Kuo, Apple won’t be able to ramp-up the premium iPhone’s production until at least October or November — two months later than typical ramp-ups in August-September. Notably, Barclays analysts and Bloomberg have circulated similar reports.
Kuo went on to add that the supply shortage and shipping delays “won’t undermine actual demand” if the iPhone 8 provides “good user experience.” However, there are a handful of risks concerning this year’s iPhone shipments. In a “worst case scenario,” Kuo believes iPhone shipments could decrease by 15 to 20 percent, and the delay would ultimately hurt overall sales. Additionally, Kuo believes that this year’s two LCD iPhone models — which he said won’t have edge-to-edge form factors — will have a hard time competing against full-screen flagships from the likes of Samsung, Huawei and other competitors.
It’s possible that the delay is a sign that Apple has decided to go with the “Touch ID under display” design. Embedding a fingerprint sensor under the display has reportedly been Apple’s biggest design bottleneck, and a rear-mounted Touch ID sensor was reported to be a way of expediting the iPhone’s production in time for a September release.