The day Apple fans have been anxiously awaiting for the past two months — nay, the past two years — is almost upon us. Apple and its partners will begin taking preorders for the hotly anticipated iPhone X next Friday, October 27th, and the iPhone X will then be released a week later on November 3rd. The company’s first redesigned iPhone in more than three years is so eagerly anticipated that Apple fans are passing on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, instead opting to wait for the $1,000+ iPhone X. Some industry watchers believe demand for the iPhone X is even higher than iPhone 6 and 6 Plus demand was back in 2014, when Apple finally relented and released iPhone models with larger displays.
All of this sounds like good news for fans, who will finally get the redesigned, all-screen iPhone they want. It sounds like even better news for Apple, since tens of millions of people appear to be opting for the high-priced iPhone X instead of Apple’s less expensive iPhone models. Unfortunately, all this pent-up demand may prove to be a huge problem for Apple and for customers alike, because the world’s top Apple insider just issued a report making it clear that next month’s iPhone X release is going to be an absolute nightmare.
KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is the most widely respected analyst who covers Apple right now. His supply chain sources are extremely accurate, and his track record speaks for itself. In fact, Kuo is typically only wrong when he reports on Apple’s plans too early, because plans often change several times before product designs are finalized.
Kuo’s accuracy is typically a good thing, because he gives the world insights into Apple’s plans and products well ahead of release. On Friday, however, Kuo’s accuracy is a bad thing because he issued a note to clients that brings awful news.
Here’s the TL;DR version: You’re not getting an iPhone X on launch day.
The analyst says that Apple’s suppliers are still having tremendous difficulties with certain key components in the iPhone X. The good news is his sources indicate that the various manufacturing difficulties will soon be worked out. The bad news is the length of time they’ve persisted, because Apple’s supply at launch will apparently be nowhere close to enough to meet all the demand out there for the new iPhone X.
“Special materials, recipes, design, processes, equipments and tests are required for antenna FPCB, as the specifications for iPhone X antenna (supplied by Amphenol (US)) are higher than those of iPhone 8 and only Murata (JP) and Career Tech (6153 TT, NT$30.1, NR) can meet Apple’s requirements,” Kuo wrote in his note on Friday morning. “Murata (originally with a 60% order allocation or higher) won’t be able to resolve its issues before 2Q18, and thus has been fully replaced by second supplier Career. We believe Career will ramp up in November, as capacity expansion takes time, and its materials, recipes, design, processes, equipments and tests are different from those of Murata.”
So, how bad is it? Very, very bad. According to Kuo — the most reliable Apple analyst in the world — Apple will have somewhere between 2 million and 3 million iPhone X units on hand at launch. For any other company launching any other phone, that would be a tremendous feat and supply would far outreach demand. But there are tens of millions of people out there who will look to get their hands on an iPhone X when it’s released in two weeks. Most of them, it seems, will be disappointed.