iPhone 6 production hits snag as Apple makes last-minute tweak

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Apple is expected to reveal the iPhone in nearly three weeks, but according to a Reuters report, production has hit a snag, sending suppliers scrambling to get enough parts in time, thanks to a last minute design change.

To make the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 thinner than ever, Apple planned to shrink the backlight assembly by using a single layer of film — instead of the two used on the iPhone 5s display — but after running into some last minute problems with production, Apple decided to redesign the key component.

“Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July… The new configuration was not bright enough and the backlight was sent back to the drawing board to fit in the extra layer, costing precious time and temporarily idling some screen assembly operations, the source said.”

The iPhone 6 is expected to anchor Apple’s sales throughout the holiday season, but it’s unclear if the backlight issues will delay the launch, or just limit the number of iPhone initially available. Apple is going to need all the iPhone 6 units it can make, not only to meet the unprecedented demand, but to gain some marketshare back from the cheap Android handsets and phablets that have been nibbling on its pie.

Production is supposedly back on track now and suppliers are working “flat-out” to make up for the lost time. With a launch date schedule for the end of September, the thinner iPhone 6 is also rumored to feature an improved camera, A8 processor, sapphire glass display, NFC, and a new mobile payments system.

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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