iPhone X Supply Revised Lower Yet Again as TrueDepth System Still Faces Production Issues

A new report today yet again suggests that customers looking to get an iPhone X this year might face quite the challenge.


Jeff Pu, an analyst with Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting, has cut his forecast of the number of iPhone X devices that will be produced this year from 40 million units to 36 million. It's the second time he has revised down his estimate, which originally totaled 45 million earlier this year.

The underlying reason is that Apple's suppliers are still struggling to perfect manufacturing of the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera and 3D facial recognition system, according to Japan's Nikkei Asian Review. We first heard about the production issues from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo a few weeks ago.

Multiple reports have claimed it has taken more time to assemble the TrueDepth system's so-called "Romeo" module than the "Juliet" module.

The "Romeo" module reportedly includes the dot projector that beams more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of your face, while the "Juliet" module includes the infrared camera that analyzes the pattern. Together, they help power new iPhone X features such as Face ID and Animoji.

Pu maintained his belief that the iPhone X will enter mass production in mid-October and begin to be shipped from China to the first wave of launch countries next week. iPhone X pre-orders begin Friday, October 27, just over two weeks from now. The device officially launches Friday, November 3.

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Estimated Supply of iPhone X on Launch Day Revised Down to Just Over 12 Million Units

When the iPhone X launches on November 3, initial supply of the smartphone available to purchase could be limited to around 12 million units, according to Jeff Pu, an analyst at Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting.


Pu told Nikkei Asian Review that Foxconn likely manufactured around 2 million iPhone X devices in September. He said the number should increase to 10 million in October, and reach a total of 40 million by the end of the year, down from his original forecast of 45 million units earlier this year.

If accurate, that means there would be just over 12 million iPhone X handsets available to purchase when the device launches in under six weeks.

The report corroborates that the TrueDepth camera and facial recognition system is a major bottleneck for iPhone X production, as KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a research note earlier this week.
Two executives working for iPhone suppliers told Nikkei Asian Review that 3-D sensor part makers are still struggling to reach a satisfactory level of output, and to boost their yield rate. This rate measures the number of usable or saleable units from a batch of components or final products produced. A low yield rate is likely to hurt a company's margins and bottom line.
Reports about limited availability surrounding an iPhone launch surface every year, but rumors suggest the iPhone X might be even harder to get your hands on than a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black last year.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tags: nikkei.com, Jeff Pu

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