Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) appears to be enjoying a successful iPhone X launch. It has certainly been smoother than rival Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) Pixel 2 XL. However, the iPhone X has suffered from a growing list of issues and, like the PIxel 2 XL, many appear to be related to its new OLED display. There hasn’t been anything bad enough yet to spook investors — AAPL stock remains near record highs — but the iPhone X display may yet prove to be a problem that impacts sales.
Here’s a listing of each iPhone X issue currently being tracked.
The most recent round of complaints began popping up over the weekend. According to the complaints, when used as a speakerphone at high volumes, the iPhone X earpiece speaker can buzz or crackle.
Green Line of Death on iPhone X Display
This iPhone X issue has been dubbed “the green line of death.” It’s a bright green line that runs from top to bottom on an affected iPhone X display. Although it doesn’t actually “kill” the iPhone, the persistent line does ruin its appearance and interferes with some apps. Apple has reportedly been replacing affected iPhones.
iPhone X Freezes in Cold Weather
Just as winter weather hit the northeast, reports began surfacing that the iPhone X display becomes sluggish and then stops responding in cold weather. Apple has confirmed this issue and says it will address it in a software update.
Face ID Can be Fooled
Apple has denied reports that it lowered its requirements for the sensors, projector array and cameras used in its Face ID camera in order to speed up iPhone X production. And while Face ID has proven secure in testing, it may not be as infallible as initially claimed.
Apple has warned that its biometric security can’t distinguish between identical twins, but there are reports that it may have trouble distinguishing between siblings as well. And within a week, hackers claimed to have fooled FaceID with a 3D printed mask.
The Most Breakable iPhone Ever
Testing has shown that the all-glass iPhone X is the most breakable iPhone Apple has ever released. Even a drop from just three feet is likely to shatter the iPhone X display and back. And that drop sets new records for repair costs as well. Replacing a cracked iPhone X display will cost $279; if the back is cracked as well, the repair bill rises to a whopping $549. Good news for protective case makers, bad news for consumers.
However, the iPhone X repair costs may just convince owners to invest in AppleCare, reducing the cost to $199. AppleCare revenue is part of Apple’s growing Services division, which is increasingly important to AAPL stock, so there’s a potential upside to this one from an AAPL investor standpoint.
Apple’s OLED Warning
One potentially worrisome development occurred on launch day. Apple itself posted a support document that noted the OLED technology in the iPhone X display is subject to color shift and burn-in as “expected behavior.” This seemed like a pre-emptive statement that could foreshadow battles between iPhone X owners and Apple customer service in the future.
No Red Flags for AAPL Stock
Despite the parade of iPhone X issue reports, nothing yet has been catastrophic or widespread enough to cause panic. While numbers have not been released, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been quoted as saying iPhone X orders are “very strong,” and that the iPhone 8 Plus has been “a positive surprise” clocking the best initial sales of any Plus-size iPhone to date.
This suggests iPhone X issues aren’t having a big effect on demand and if there are any reluctant shoppers, they’re picking up an iPhone 8 Plus instead. All good.
With the new iPhone sales apparently surging, AAPL stock has followed suit. However, it would be wise to keep an eye out for any escalation of iPhone X display issues, or other problems that might develop. After all, the flagship iPhone’s technology is expected to be adopted by Apple’s full iPhone lineup next year, so any major hardware problems could have the potential to be more serious in the long-term than simply derailing iPhone X sales.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.