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What the heck is going on with iPhone X production?

iPhone X Launch

They say where there’s smoke there’s fire, and there’s a whole lot of smoke surrounding Apple’s upcoming iPhone X launch. The iPhone X is unquestionably the phone most avid Apple fans are waiting for, and analysts believe tens of millions of people will be looking to purchase the device right out of the gate when it’s released on November 3rd. At the same time, persistent rumors of severe manufacturing holdups have painted a bleak picture of iPhone X supply at launch. In fact, each day brings with it new tales of woe from Foxconn factories and Apple’s component supply chain.

Friday morning is no different, but this time around we’re seeing one of the most peculiar reports so far. If it’s accurate, and it just might be, then Apple’s iPhone X supply at launch might be even more constrained than we thought.

In the recent past, Apple has been… not so good at ensuring there is enough product supply at launch to meet demand. The Apple Watch is a good example of the company’s troubles — especially the first-generation model — but the most recent and likely best example is AirPods. Apple’s wireless earbuds were released last December and Apple STILL isn’t shipping new orders right away. At this point, it’s just sad.

On to the iPhone X, and reports have consistently stated that Apple’s production woes continue. We already know conclusively that Apple and its partners are having problems since the release was pushed back to November, but things are even worse than we thought if this morning’s report is to be believed.

Digitimes doesn’t have the best track record with early rumors (often because plans change), but the site has many sources in Apple’s supply chain and its reporting at this stage in a product’s life cycle is often spot on. That’s bad news in this case, because the site is reporting that a key component for the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera and sensor array just began shipping from one of Apple’s suppliers.

“Fabless IC firm Himax Technologies has begun shipments of chips based on wafer-level optics (WLO) technology to Apple, according to industry sources,” Digitimes reporters Julian Ho and Jessie Shen wrote. “The solution is reportedly a key component of the iPhone X’s face ID sensor.”

The report goes on to note that ChipMOS Technologies is also supplying WLO chips for the iPhone X, but a change in the supply chain this close to launch can’t be a good thing. Apple’s iPhone X becomes available for preorder in just two weeks on October 27th, and the phone will then be released a week later on November 3rd.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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