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Report sheds light on why the iPhone XR won’t launch until the end of October

Published Sep 17th, 2018 8:00PM EDT
iPhone XR
Image: Apple Inc.

Last year, Apple’s flagship iPhone — the iPhone X — didn’t launch until early November, a good month and a half after the company’s iPhone 8 models hit store shelves. This year, we heard rumors that Apple was planning to start mass production earlier than usual as to launch all three of its new iPhone models at the same time and avoid frustrating delays. Alas, the delayed launch bug hit Apple yet again this year, with the company last week revealing that the iPhone XR — a device which will likely be the most popular iPhone model — won’t hit store shelves until the end of October.

The iPhone XR launch date caught many by surprise, if only because the XS models boast more advanced technologies that presumably require a more complex assembly process. That said, it’s only reasonable to wonder why the iPhone XR in particular will launch later than both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. As it turns out, the answer is quite simple: Apple’s manufacturing partners already have a full year of experience with respect to manufacturing devices with edgeless OLED displays. The iPhone XR’s nearly edgeless LCD display, meanwhile, posed a unique set of challenges.

Touching on this point, The Verge recently spoke to Ryan Reith of IDC who relayed that Apple had to work out some last-minute software issues which impacted the quality of the displays along with the issues involving production of the panels themselves.

Everything we’ve been hearing, it’s been an issue on the software side. There’s a lot of software involved with the LCD screen, as it’s the first [LCD display] with a notch and full screen. Apple could not get enough of these displays. It’s run into last-minute kinks with the contact manufacturer.

In short, the iPhone XR’s LCD display is the apparent cause for the delay. Once the devices hit store shelves, we can only hope that supply is plentiful enough such that consumers can pick up the exact model they want no matter the color. iPhone XR pre-orders will open up on October 19 ahead of an official launch on October 26.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.