Photo: Reuters
By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
August 22, 2014

With the rumored launch of a new iPhone less than three weeks away, the time is ripe for anonymous sources in Apple’s Asian supply chain to start bellyaching to the press.

And just like clockwork, here comes Reuters’ Tokyo bureau, happy to oblige:

Exclusive: Apple iPhone 6 screen snag leaves supply chain scrambling

The details of Reiji Murai’s report seem credible enough: To make a thinner phone, Apple wanted to use a single layer of backlight film instead of the usual two. But the new configuration wasn’t bright enough and the backlight had to be “sent back to the drawing board,” according to Murai, “costing precious time and temporarily idling some screen assembly operations.”

But it may be a stretch to go from there to the possibility of a “delay” in the launch of a device that hasn’t been announced at a Sept. 9 media event for which invitations haven’t been sent.

Especially when the only source quoted on the record, a Pegatron spokesman, told Reuters that “This kind of problem regularly occurs and the impact on production is negligible.”

That didn’t stop headline writers from the dodgy end of the tech press from piling on:

Carly Page / Inquirer: iPhone 6 backlight glitch could force Apple to delay 9 September launch

Gordon Kelly / Forbes: iPhone 6 Production Delayed, Claims Reuters. Risks Troubled Launch


A smarter take on this kind of story:

Chris Davies / SlashGear: Here come the iPhone 6 display delay rumors

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.

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