Have you marked your calendar in anticipation of a September release for the iPhone 8? Better break out the eraser. It looks like Apple's next smartphone will ship much later in the year than prior versions have.
That's the indication from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who's built a reputation for pretty accurate iPhone forecasts. His latest report, highlighted at 9to5Mac, suggests that mass production of an OLED iPhone won't happen until October or November. If that's the case, it could mean the iPhone 8 won't be widely available until later in 2017.
The reason for the delay? Apple's upgrading a lot of features for its 10th anniversary iPhone, with Apple needing a lot of customized parts from its suppliers for the new phone. And those parts will need to be assembled together before production on the iPhone 8 can ramp up to meet demand.
Specifically, Apple is expected to include an OLED screen on the iPhone 8 that will take up most of the phone's front face. The new iPhone is also rumored to include 3D sensors that will support augmented reality features, an improved A11 processor and a new sensor to support Apple's 3D Touch feature. Kuo cites all of these components as contributing to a later-than-usual iPhone 8.
The Touch ID sensor has been particularly troublesome for Apple, according to other analyst reports, as the company looks for a way to integrate the fingerprint-reading sensor underneath the iPhone's new expansive display. Some leaked schematics suggest that Apple may move the sensor to the back of the phone, though the latest leaks imply that Apple is pressing forward with keeping the sensor up front.
Kuo's report is just the latest to forecast a late arrival for the iPhone 8. Other analysts have forecast that the iPhone 8 may ship one or two months after Apple announces the new phone, as the company deals with production issues.
You won't be completely without new iPhones this September if Kuo's report is accurate. Apple is reportedly planning three different iPhones for the fall, and that two of those models — modest updates to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus — will be available shortly after Apple unveils them.
Still, in a world where phone makers like Samsung and LG have already unveiled extended displays that practically eliminate bezels, the sight of an iPhone 7s or 7s Plus and their conventional LCD panels are unlikely to set pulses racing. The pressure will be on Apple to come out with an eye-catching smartphone of its own this fall — sooner rather than later.