Everyone is expecting Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to release its 10th anniversary iPhone 8 in September. Consumers, wireless providers, retailers and AAPL investors. Apple’s new ultra-premium flagship is going to be a big deal and September is the month when new iPhones are typically launched. However, there may be a problem with that timeline. A new report out today says the advanced technology Apple is using is causing manufacturing problems in the supply chain.
As a result, the company may be forced to move the iPhone 8 launch to October or even November.
The iPhone 8 is Expected to Incorporate New Technology
Apple has been making a big deal about 2017 being the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. While the company is expected to release an iPhone 7s — the usual spec bumped version of last year’s model — it is also hard at work on the iPhone 8. This would be an ultra-premium smartphone positioned above the iPhone 7.
The technology Apple is packing in this 10th anniversary edition is rumored to include curved OLED panels — an Apple first, although they have been used by rival Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) for several years.
The new iPhone is also expected to pack a revolutionary 3D FaceTime camera, which could be a key component of AAPL’s augmented reality plans. These new features are a big part of the reason why Apple could be charging $1,000 or more for its 10th anniversary iPhone.
Unfortunately, they’re also causing some problems that could result in an iPhone 8 delay, at least according to DigiTimes, the Chinese website that tracks Apple and its supply chain.
Manufacturing Challenges Could Derail iPhone 8 Launch
This morning, DigiTimes broke the news on the potential setback.
“Technical issues related to the lamination process of curved OLED panels, and the adoption of a 3D sensing system may cause the delay of the new iPhone devices.”
Manufacturing delays related to incorporation of advanced new technology have derailed launch plans for several high-tech companies lately. GoPro Inc (NASDAQ:GPRO) faced a shortage of its new Hero5 Black action camera going into the holiday season because of a manufacturing problem. Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) also stumbled going into the holidays when manufacturing issues meant it was unable to ramp up volume production on its new Flex 2 fitness tracker. Apple itself ran into production glitches that caused shortages of the iPhone 5 at launch.
Potential Impact on the iPhone 8 Launch
Apple is looking for September to be a monster month and if the iPhone 8 launched gets delayed until October or even November, as the DigiTimes report suggests, that’s going to throw a serious wrench in the company’s plans.
MacRumors suggests several scenarios. AAPL may still go ahead with the usual September iPhone event, but use that to showcase the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, holding a separate iPhone 8 launch later in the year. Or, it may launch the iPhone 7s in September, but also announce the iPhone 8 — with a later release date.
There’s also a possibility that the company may be able to eke out enough iPhone 8 production to go ahead with the September launch, but with very limited iPhone 8 quantities until later in the year.
Regardless of the scenario, it’s continuing to look like AAPL is not going to entirely get its way with the iPhone 8 launch. The hype will be there and undoubtedly there will be line-ups of people ready to fork out $1000-plus for a new iPhone. The question is, will Apple be able to get an iPhone 8 to them before they get tired of waiting and a buy an iPhone 7s — or worse, one of the competition’s new phones — instead?
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.