The iPhone X will be available to pre-order on October 27, and the premium OLED flagship will launch on November 3. But it might be hard to get your hands on one until next year, according to one renowned analyst.
Apple’s top-tier handset will be in extremely high demand after it launches. But due to relatively low yield rates this year and a variety issues in the production and supply chains, shipments of the iPhone X might not catch up with that demand until the first quarter of 2018, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities wrote in a research note that was distributed to clients on Friday.
“We believe the fullscreen design and facial recognition features will drive replacement demand for the iPhone X,” Kuo wrote. “However, due to supply constraints, we expect market demand won’t be fully met before 1H18. We revise down our forecast for 2017F iPhone X shipments from 45-50 million to around 40 million units, but we therefore revise up our 2018 iPhone X shipment estimate to 80-90 million units.”
Analysts previously predicted that the iPhone X would spur an “upgrade super-cycle” for Apple due to its new design and revolutionary features. But due to a “multitude of production issues” early on in the handset’s development, the premium flagship is expected to face “extended supply shortfalls and shipping delays,” according to a Wall Street Journal report from earlier this month.
Indeed, Kuo also predicted that the iPhone X might face “severe supply shortages” after its official launch. Earlier this week, the analyst estimated that production of the handset was less than 10,000 units per day. That yield rate is expected to increase as Apple ramps up the mass production, but it’ll remain in severely short supply “for a while,” Kuo added.
Before Tuesday, Kuo also believed that a gold iPhone X would only be available in “extremely low volume” — and might not launch alongside other color options. Indeed, Apple said that the iPhone X would only be available in Silver and Space Gray. According to Kuo’s note today, the lack of a gold color echoes previous production concerns.
In addition to those supply issues, Kuo said that Apple likely purposely pushed back the iPhone X’s pre-order and shipping dates. Specifically, the company may not have wanted to cannibalize sales of its iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus devices. Pre-orders for those handsets began at midnight PST today and orders are expected to begin shipping out to customers next Friday, Sept. 22.
But what does all this mean for consumers? In short, Apple isn’t currently able to make enough of the devices fast enough to meet the high demand spurred by its features. In other words, it’s not going to be easy to buy an iPhone X during this year’s busy holiday shopping season.