Apple's iPhone X gamble shows signs of backfiring

OLED panel problems and technical issues relating to Face ID components could mean severe shortages well into next year.

Your iPhone X or iPhone 8 won't charge fast unless you buy this for it

It seems that component problems will mean severe iPhone X shortages well into 2018.

Must read: Here's why your old iPhone feels slow -- and what you can do about it

According to a Nikkei report, OLED panel production will only reach 10 million units a year, which means Apple will have to make do with 20 million or so panels by the end of the year.

It's reported that Apple was hoping to produce 40 million iPhones by the end of the year.

And it's not just problems with the OLED display -- something that's also been plaguing Google with the new Pixel XL 2 -- but technical issues related to Face ID components have also thrown speed bumps in Apple's way.

A note by Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo told investors to expect that Apple would only have between two to three million iPhone X units ready for preorder this coming Friday (Oct. 27), with the handset being available Nov. 3.

That's a shockingly small number of handsets considering that the iPhone X is launching in 57 countries and territories around the world, and Apple needs to cater for interest both at Apple Stores and third-party outlets (including the carriers, which account for around 70 to 80 percent of sales overall according to the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP)).

So what does this mean?

Well, first off, if you're hoping to grab an iPhone X at launch, good luck.

For Apple, this might be bad news, especially if iPhone 8 sales have also been soggy. iPhone launch is usually a gangbusters quarter for Apple, but if the iPhone X has drawn interest away from the iPhone 8, and iPhone X units are in short supply, this could put a hefty dent in shipments.

Are iPhone 8 sales soggy? The data suggests yes. According to analysis carried out by mobile engagement platform Localytics, the iPhone 8 models are the worst performing iPhones of the last several years, with first month adoption falling well short of the iPhone 7 in 2016, the iPhone 6s in 2015, and the iPhone 6 in 2014 (which was Apple's strongest performing launch).

iPhone first month adoption

iPhone first month adoption


When asked about iPhone X shortages during a recent interview with BuzzFeed, Apple CEO Tim Cook offered a "we'll see what happens."

I guess we will.

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