Apple could get started on iPhone 8 production sooner than expected. But does that mean the new phone will wind up in your hands sooner than usual?
Word of the new production schedule comes from analysts at BlueFin Research Partners, who told investors in a research note that Apple will likely begin manufacturing its next smartphone in June. That's sooner than iPhone production has ramped up in the past. BlueFin's note, obtained by Barron's, says the move probably won't impact the iPhone 8's release date. Typically, Apple introduces new phones in the fall.
"The most intriguing data points that we have uncovered suggests that [Apple] is ramping the next generation iPhones earlier than historical norms, although we have no indication that there has been any change in release plans for the iPhone 8/X," the analysts wrote.
The iPhone X has been floated as another possible name for Apple's upcoming smartphone.
Apple's apparent decision to ramp up production sooner than expected might be understandable. The company is reportedly working on a big update to the iPhone this year. The new device could be the first from Apple to offer a curved, OLED display, according to reports. Apple might also be planning to remove the physical home button sensor and bake its Touch ID functionality directly into the smartphone's screen.
I addition, Apple's iPhone 8 could offer an all-glass enclosure and since the home button may disappear, the phone's entire face might be covered in the display. According to reports, the iPhone 8 will sit alongside the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus this year, which will feature more modest upgrades over their predecessors.
Since the iPhone 8 is expected to be a big departure from iPhones of old, Apple might need a little more time to get it ready for customers. The move to start production sooner might also be a way to address supply issues that Apple typically encounters when it launches a new iPhone. In its quarterly earnings call last month, for example, Apple said it took until January for the supply of iPhone 7 Plus models to meet demand for the phone that it unveiled in September 2016.