A number of reports seem to agree that the iPhone 8 will be delayed. What’s worse, the phone might ship with a few signature features disabled, as it’s unclear whether Apple will have them ready for launch — the list includes wireless charging and facial recognition. But that Apple is still doing everything it can to deal with whatever issues that come its way during production. A new report reveals that Apple has purchased expensive production equipment just to make sure one critical iPhone 8 component won’t see shortages.
Korean site ETNews reports, via The Investor, that Apple bought production equipment for rigid flexible printed circuit boards (RFPCB) that should be used for manufacturing iPhone 8 parts. Apple itself doesn’t have any production lines of its own, so it won’t directly use the equipment, which is worth tens of millions of dollars. Instead, Apple will supply the units to two of the three companies that were hired to produce RFPCB parts for the iPhone 8.
Apparently, a Taiwan-based company backed out of the deal, leaving two Korean companies to handle all of Apple’s orders. The Taiwanese supplier reportedly pulled out of the deal as it wasn’t happy with Apple’s strict requirements and low profitability. It’s unclear whether this production predicament will contribute in any way to the iPhone 8’s launch delay.
The iPhone maker wants to make sure it’ll have enough RFPCBs supply at hand, which is why it’s supporting the two Korean firms with this pricey new equipment.
The RFPCB is an upgraded version that’s harder to make than either flexible or rigid PCBs. Apple needs the part for the touchscreen panel of the iPhone 8, the report notes, and will need to build some 100 million RFPCB units this year alone.