Apple iPhone X Production Woes Continue

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Apple’s iPhone X is being released next month, but according to a news report in The Nikkei Asian Review on Thursday (Oct. 12), manufacturers are having a tough time perfecting the 3D sensors in the phone that would enable facial recognition.

Citing a tech executive familiar with production of the iPhone X, the Nikkei Asian Review revealed that manufacturers are having a tough time with the dot projectors in the TrueDepth camera system on the smartphone, which is part of Apple’s new facial recognition technology that enables users to unlock phones and pay digitally.

The unnamed executive’s comments were reiterated by Jeff Pu, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting, which told the paper the dot projectors are giving manufacturers trouble and preventing the iPhone X from being built on a mass production level.

However, Pu still believes the iPhone X will begin mass production in the middle of October and will start shipping from China in the third week of the month. The analyst noted that Apple will produce 36 million iPhone Xs in 2017, down from his past estimate of 40 million.

This isn’t the first report about production woes to surface since Apple unveiled the iPhone X in September. Late last month, DigiTimes reported the tech giant told some of its component suppliers to hold back on shipping at least some of the parts used in the iPhone X. The site said it had gotten this information through sources at “Taiwan-based upstream component suppliers.”

The delivery slowdown means that only about 40 percent of components are being shipped from the total amount that had been initially estimated for the smartphones. In terms of production, at least for several suppliers, that reduced rate still demands an increase in activity at component manufacturers — largely because some of the manufacturers have been seeing low yields from current production lines.

The reasoning behind the pullback? DigiTimes reported via its unnamed sources that Apple is stepping back to observe the presale orders of the iPhone X and wants to gauge the sales of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus — all observances that would take place before the iPhone X production would ramp up to full capacity.