Somewhat prolific KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has again hit the headlines after releasing a new report in which he claims that iPhone X production issues have begun to ease, although supply will remain severely restricted at launch.
According to the analyst, despite there being light at the end of the tunnel for Apple’s supply chain, the company will still have only between two and three million units ready for launch day, worldwide.
Apple’s latest flagship device goes on sale on November 3rd but pre-orders are scheduled to begin next week on October 27. There has been a constant stream of rumors suggesting the production of the TrueDepth camera system has proven troublesome, though Kuo reports things are starting to level out. Apple’s supply chain partner Murata said to also be struggling with producing the more complicated PCB required in the iPhone X.
Special materials, recipes, design, processes, equipments and tests are required for antenna FPCB, as the specifications for iPhone X antenna (supplied by Amphenol (US)) are higher than those of iPhone 8 and only Murata (JP) and Career Tech (6153 TT, NT$30.1, NR) can meet Apple’s requirements. Murata (originally with a 60% order allocation or higher) won’t be able to resolve its issues before 2Q18, and thus has been fully replaced by second supplier Career. We believe Career will ramp up in November, as capacity expansion takes time, and its materials, recipes, design, processes, equipments and tests are different from those of Murata.
As a result of the expected low numbers of available iPhone X handsets at launch, Kuo has revised his numbers for the fourth quarter, now saying that he expects between 25 and 30 million units to ship. That’s down from the 30-35 million expected previously. If you want to get your hands on an iPhone X this side of Christmas, you might want to make sure you have those pre-ordering fingers ready come next Friday because if you do not get in on the first batch, you may be in for a long wait.
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