While the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant released the iPhone 5, 5S, 6, 6S and 7 all in mid to late September, this year's iPhone 8 could be released as late as December due to supply constraints. Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um wrote in a note on Monday that this first delay could be a sign that Apple is struggling to deliver innovative products or that its ability to execute is slipping.
However, Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson took the opposite stance, saying a delay due to supply issues is actually a welcome sign of demand for the highly anticipated iPhone. "It's a sign that the iPhone has now reached such a massive scale that any new components Apple wants to include in iPhones have to be manufactured in huge numbers, and suppliers are struggling to meet that demand," he explained.
The supply concerns have to do with components that have limited suppliers, such as the OLED edge-to-edge screen iPhone 8 screen that Apple is having to source from rival Samsung (SSNLF) , as well as components that have simply never needed to be manufactured at the rate of tens of millions per quarter as the iPhone needs, he said. "This is really about Apple bringing massive scale to industry sectors that aren't used to that scale and are struggling to keep up," he concluded.
Apple has historically struggled to get production to meet demand in the months after the initial release of a new iPhone model, and already, customers have indicated a strong interest in buying the iPhone 8. A survey from Loup Ventures shows that interest in upgrading to the new iPhone 8, which is expected to retail for more than $1,000, this fall is higher than last year's interest was in buying the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Based on a May survey of 501 U.S. consumers, 25% of 220 current iPhone users surveyed said they plan on buying the next iPhone when it's released. That's 10 percentage points higher than the 15% of iPhone owners that said they wanted to buy the iPhone 7 in July 2016 prior to its release that September.
In addition, an April 2017 survey from Morgan Stanley showed that about 92% of iPhone owners say they are "somewhat likely" or "extremely likely" to upgrade their device in the next year. That survey was based on 1,000 U.S. smartphone users aged 18 and above.
The new iPhone is expected to get a complete redesign for its 10th anniversary. Expected updates include an edge-to-edge OLED display, wireless charging, facial scanning technology and augmented reality technology.
Apple's shares rose slightly on Tuesday afternoon.
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