Apple’s next big iPhone update could be hitting some snags that might ultimately push back its release much farther than the company might like.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a note to investors on Wednesday that some of his sources in Apple’s supply chain think there’s a greater risk for a “worst-case scenario” that could ultimately delay Apple’s big iPhone update for 2017. He specifically cited the iPhone’s rumored screen technology, which could be facing a two-month delay on production, according to Apple-tracking site AppleInsider, which earlier reported on the news. The iPhone’s release could ultimately be delayed two to three months, his sources said.
Apple (AAPL) has been rumored for months to be working on three new iPhones this year. Two of those handsets, believed to be known as the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, will likely only offer small updates over last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, according to reports. The third model—which is rumored to be known as the iPhone 8, iPhone X, or iPhone Edition—could come with major upgrades over last year’s smartphones. Chief among those updates is a new screen technology called organic light-emitting diode (OLED). Apple has traditionally used liquid-crystal displays in its phones, which don’t come with the same color accuracy as OLED.
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Additionally, Apple’s iPhone 8 could come with a new, all-glass design and might remove the smartphone’s physical home button under the screen and bake the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor directly into its screen.
Innovation, however, comes at a cost. And although Apple typically ramps up production on its devices in late summer, Kuo’s sources now say iPhone 8 production likely won’t ramp up until September or October.
Still, there have been several conflicting reports of late about Apple’s release schedule. Some earlier reports had said that the iPhone 8’s production could be delayed, but a recent report out of China suggests it might actually be on time for a September release. And the only party that knows for sure, Apple, isn’t saying that it even has an iPhone planned, let alone when it might go into production.
Kuo told investors that he now expects iPhone shipments to fall between 80 million units and 90 million units in the second half of 2017. He previously estimated 100 million to 110 million shipped units.