Friday, March 3, 2017

Apple's redesigned iPhone might not be ready in time for a September launch

iphone concept
Here's the current state of iPhone rumors: Apple is expected to launch three iPhone models this fall. Two are successors to the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but one model will be completely redesigned, and could cost over $1,000. 
That last one is the phone Apple fans will probably want — the "10th anniversary" iPhone, with a better "OLED" screen, redesigned fingerprint sensor, and likely other cutting-edge technologies that haven't even been rumored yet.
But it now sounds like it could release later than September. Multiple supply chain watchers in recent weeks have said they believe production on the "OLED iPhone" will not start until September, which suggests the high-end iPhone "8" may not go on sale in September, as has been the case for years.

Apple traditionally needs months of production to accommodate the launch demand for its new iPhones, which can sell millions on its first weekend of availability. 
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is famous for accurately predicting Apple's plans, mentioned this in a research note focusing on Apple's camera suppliers dated February 24 (emphasis ours):
"After 1-2 years spent on related-component R&D, OLED iPhone to feature proprietary 3D camera system; three modules of 3D camera system to be calibrated precisely via active alignment. In keeping with Apple’s stringent quality standards, we believe:
(1) related optical components, including VCSEL, DOE, wafer-level lens and filter for IR transmitting module, and CIS, filter and lens of IR receiver module have all been custom-designed in collaboration with suppliers;
...
This implies, unless production of the OLED iPhone (expected to begin in September) gets pushed back, there is virtually no time to make changes to the 3D camera system, either on a parts or module level, given the lengthy review and recertification processes that would be required."
On Friday, electronics supply chain trade publication Digitimes backed up Kuo's research (emphasis ours):
Apple's in-house developed fingerprint ID solution will be fabricated at TSMC's 12-inch line using 65nm process technology, said the sources, adding that production for the new OLED iPhone is unlikely to start until September due to the redesigned fingerprint ID solution.
...
Apple is expected to enter volume production for two other new iPhones, which will retain LCD for their displays, in July, the sources said.
This raises the possibility that Apple could debut all three devices in September, as it usually does, but only release the two iPhone 7 successors shortly thereafter, forcing customers to wait for the high-end iPhone 8. 
The last time Apple launched an iPhone outside of the September month was in 2011, when the iPhone 4S launched in October. 
Here's what we think we know about the fabled "OLED iPhone," which analysts have been calling the "iPhone 8" or "iPhone X."
  • There will be three new iPhone models, and all three could have wireless charging.
  • The highest-end iPhone, with a "OLED" screen with deeper blacks, could have a casing made of "forged stainless steel" and a back made of glass.
  • The home button and fingerprint sensor could be built into and under an edge-to-edge screen on the high-end model. 
  • It'll sport a double-lens camera, like on the iPhone 7 Plus.
  • It will feature new 3D-sensing technologyto enable "some form of facial/gesture recognition."

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