Apple’s highly anticipated 2017 iPhone cycle is a matter of months away, and the supply chain reports are rolling in as production ramps up. The iPhone 8 is expected to be a major upgrade with a new bezel-less design, stainless steel and glass chassis, and an 5.8-inch OLED display.
There are always stories about iPhone delays, although this year it feels like we have had more than ever. A new report from Digitimes blames OLED panel supply as the latest bottleneck in the production process …
Samsung will be the exclusive manufacturer of the panels for the OLED ‘iPhone 8’ (tentative naming) but it seems like output of the 5.8-inch panel is heavily constrained.
The report indicates only 3-4 million iPhone devices will be ready to ship by September, which is the typical launch window for new iPhones. Last year, Apple announced the iPhone 7 on September 7, 2016.
Judging from the current supply of OLED panels, it will be difficult for Apple to ship up to 50-60 million OLED-based new iPhones in 2017, the sources indicated.
iPhone assembly plants Foxconn, Pegatron and Wistron have also been recruiting en masse to handle the iPhone production demand. TSMC began shipping A11 processors destined for the next-generation iPhone in May.
This report only discusses the OLED iPhone, it seems like production of the two ‘iPhone 7s’ devices with LCD displays is generally on track. The latter two phones are expected to be modest updates over the existing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus whereas the OLED iPhone 8 is the all-new model (and the phone that is getting the most attention in the media).
Whilst everyone still expects Apple to host a media event in September to announce the next-generation iPhone lineup, there have been several publications indicating that the iPhone 8 may not go on sale until late October. A launch with just 4 million units for the month would certainly be very tense; Apple usually sells over 10 million iPhones in opening weekend alone.