Ongoing production issues with the iPhone X will likely leave most consumers without Apple’s next-gen iPhone until 2018, according to a new research note penned by Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note obtained by MacRumors, Kuo relays that the vaunted iPhone “supercycle” won’t happen in 2017 as it will take Apple some time to really ramp up production to meet what will likely be staggering demand.
The good news, though, is that Apple has reportedly addressed any lingering production issues relating to the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system. Recall, Apple reportedly encountered some speed bumps with the TrueDepth camera due to the complexity of the components involved. With that issue seemingly resolved, Kuo anticipates that Apple in 2018 will ship anywhere from 245 – 250 million iPhone units, a marked increase from the approximately 220 million iPhone units Kuo believes Apple will sell this year.
In the interim, iPhone sales are still going strong, relatively speaking. Though a dip in iPhone sales is to be expected given the mass of users who are holding out for the iPhone X, Kuo writes that demand for the iPhone 8 Plus has been higher than anticipated. So while some analysts have pointed to weak iPhone 8 sales as a sign of weakness, Kuo maintains that overall iPhone 8 demand is where it should be given the looming launch of the iPhone X.
Kuo’s note reads in part:
The market generally refers to 2017 as the super cycle of the iPhone, but we think the real super cycle will be in 2018 for the following reasons: (1) TrueDepth Camera’s production issues will be significantly addressed in 2018F; (2) new models launched in 2018F will enjoy a longer sales period than those unveiled in 2017; and (3) the product mix, specifications and designs of new iPhone models from 2018F will be more competitive.
Once mass production begins and Apple starts getting the iPhone X into hands of customers, it will be interesting to see if the controversy surrounding Face ID and the device’s controversial notch design will wither away. Arguably, the iPhone X is Apple’s riskiest iPhone design to date because it remains to be seen if Face ID is actually as seamless a replacement for Touch ID as Apple claims. Additionally, the ’embrace the notch’ philosophy advocated by Apple has, understandably, rubbed some people the wrong way, with some folks going so far as to categorize the device as a huge missed opportunity for Apple.
As always, the market will speak for itself and we’ll have a better grasp on iPhone X demand once pre-orders open up later this month.