The iPhone 8 is likely to be the most dramatic update to Apple’s winning smartphone formula since its inception. Each iPhone generation that has come after the original, which launched in 2007, has seen steady progressions in design and performance.
Apple's iPhone 8 expected to usher in a number of new [for an iPhone] technologies like an edge-to-edge display, through-the-display Touch ID, a next generation 10nm A11 processor and vibrant OLED technology. That’s a lot of new tech to introduce at once, and reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that iPhone 8 supplies will be severely constrained at launch as suppliers attempt to ramp up production of the smartphone’s various components.
(Source: KK Sneak Leaks)
One of the key components holding back the iPhone 8, according to Kuo, is the OLED display — a first for an iPhone. Massive production ramps for iPhone display panels typically occur in the August-September timeframe according to Kuo, but that has allegedly been pushed to October-November for the iPhone 8.
A number of players are jockeying for position when it comes to ensuring adequate OLED panel supplies for their flagship smartphones, with Samsung pulling double duty by supplying screens for its own Galaxy S8/Galaxy S8+ and also Apple’s iPhone 8. Google is also looking to secure its place at the table by investing in LG Display for its next generation Pixel smartphones.
Kuo believes that although the iPhone 8 will be announced at the usual time in September alongside the expected iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus “refreshes”, shortages are expected to last for months, with peak demand not expected to arrive until Q1 2018. According to Kuo:
That said, if new features, such as 3D sensing, can provide good user experience, a temporary supply shortfall won’t undermine actual demand, which may be deferred to 1H18. In that case, potential contribution starting late-2Q17 from OLED iPhone could be partially delayed by 3-6 months for related suppliers.
Apple is no stranger to supply issues with newly-launched products. The dual-camera system in the iPhone 7 Plus led to initially sparse supplies for the flagship smartphone when it launched during the fall of 2017 and Apple took quite a few hits to the chin for the delayed launch of the AirPods. Even today, ordering the AirPods directly from the Apple Store will result in a 6-week wait.
Of course, all of this is just well-researched speculation on the part of Kuo and Apple could very well surprise us with adequate supplies when the iPhone 8 launches later this year. But Apple customers might want to lower their expectations a bit if they were hoping to get an iPhone 8 on day one (or even month one).