Apple is struggling to work out software kinks associated with the iPhone 8’s 3D cameras, a new research note from Merrill Lynchof CNBC said that the launch of Apple’s next-gen iPhone may be pushed back by three to four weeks.
While this is certainly frustrating news for anyone eager to upgrade, a mid-October launch isn’t all that bad given previous claims that the iPhone 8 release might be pushed all the way back to November.
According to source with knowledge of the matter, Fast Company reports there was a “a sense of panic in the air” last month as the “iPhone 8” team worked to resolve software related issues ahead of debut this fall. Echoing rumors from last week, the report claims Apple is having problems deploying its first wireless charging solution designed to handle high-power applications like smartphones.
Apple is implementing Qi, or at least a variation of the standard, in the next-generation handset. Hardware, like inductive charging and power management chips, is reportedly being supplied by longtime partner Broadcom, but the components are not at issue. Instead, the problem lies in software, the report says.
Last week, blogger John Gruber made similar claims on Twitter, saying Apple’s wireless charging solution might not be ready in time for launch. He went on to say Apple engineers might build the functionality into iOS 11.1, suggesting software was at fault. Today’s report reiterates Gruber’s tweet and maintains Apple could release “iPhone 8” without wireless charging enabled, then take feature live once the bugs are worked out.
Apple is also having difficulties with software powering the front-facing 3D-sensing camera, the report says. Earlier this month, a Bloomberg report claimed the company would ditch Touch ID fingerprint recognition in favor of facial scanning, though that rumor seems unlikely considering Touch ID’s integral role in Apple Pay and other tentpole features. The Fast Company source believes Apple will have the 3D sensor firmware ready in time.
Finally, the source says recent reports claiming Apple has yet to determine a final location for Touch ID are plausible, though they believe the sensor will end up being embedded within the display. The upcoming iPhone is anticipated to feature an edge-to-edge OLED screen — another source of potential production delays — that will do away with iPhone’s traditional home button. Apple was initially expected to embed a Touch ID module beneath the display, though recent predictions from industry watchers like Ming-Chi Kuo note the sensor might instead be integrated into the handset’s rear cover glass.
That said, it appears that the iPhone 8 release may be subject to delays no matter what. If Apple opts for Touch ID, a delay is seemingly in the cards. And if Apple opts to replace Touch ID with facial recognition, a delay is reportedly inevitable as well.
Consequently, Merril Lynch anticipates that iPhone sales during the upcoming September quarter will take a significant hit.
“The BofAML analysts cut their expectations for September quarter shipments by 11 million and the December quarter by 6 million,” the report reads. “For fiscal year 2017, the analysts expect 11 million fewer shipments for 2017, down to 208.1 million.”