iPhone 8 shipping estimates slashed amid delay concerns

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iPhone leak
TSMC has ramped up production for a September launch.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Shipping estimates for the iPhone 8 have been slashed by one firm amid concerns that the device could be delayed by up to a month.

Following a trip to Apple suppliers, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts blamed delays on “technological issues” related to the handset’s fingerprint scanner and 3D facial recognition sensors.

Alongside more incremental upgrades in the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, Apple is expected to introduce a vastly improved iPhone 8 this year, with an all-new design, an edge-to-edge OLED display, and features like wireless charging and facial recognition.

It all sounds incredibly exciting, but according to supply chain sources, those big changes will lead to lengthy shipping delays.

“Our conversations with the Supply Chain suggest that the iPhone 8 will ship 3-4 weeks delayed given technological issues which Apple and its suppliers are working through,” analysts Wamsi Mohan and Stefano Pascale of Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Wednesday.

The analysts maintained their buy rating on Apple stock, but cut iPhone 8 shipping estimates by 11 million units for 2017, and by 6 million units for the first fiscal quarter of 2018.

New features are to blame

The delay is being blamed on issues related to the iPhone 8’s new facial recognition sensors, and its fingerprint scanner, which is expected to be embedded beneath its OLED display. Apple will remove the handset’s physical Home button to make room for a larger screen.

These claims come just a day after Fast Company reported that the iPhone 8 could launch with a number of new features disabled.

It’s thought software bugs are rendering wireless charging and facial recognition unusable. Users may have to wait for a software update that enables them after launch.

We also learned on Wednesday that Samsung is again rushing its new Galaxy Note 8 to beat the iPhone 8 to market. A unnamed company executive told South Korean media that the device will get its big unveiling at an event in New York in late August.

If Apple ships its new handsets on time, Samsung’s phablet could have around a month to rack up sales without competition. If the iPhone 8 is indeed delayed, that could stretch to up to two months.