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iPhone X availability slips into December

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It could have been so much worse

iPhone X availability is constrained but not as bad as it could have been after months of rumors that stock would be severely limited. Apple stores in the US, UK, China, Japan and elsewhere show five to six weeks for delivery, while the Apple Store in Hong Kong simply says “no supply available.” If you want it faster, the only other option is to join a line at an Apple retail store or buy off eBay for a markup. Otherwise, the only people getting an iPhone X on November 3rd were shopping online at 3AM in their underpants.

Each year there’s typically a configuration or color option more constrained than the base models. Last year, delays hit the iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black (from six to eight weeks). At this point in the day, iPhone X shipments appear to be limited in the same way Apple’s AirPods were. AirPods only started showing up regularly in stores earlier this year, after months of them being on sale with six week shipping delays.

It’s going to take some time to understand exactly why Apple’s iPhone X is limited in stock, but reports have suggested the screen and Face ID components are to blame. Apple has switched to an OLED panel for the iPhone X, sourcing the display from rival Samsung. Apple is relying on Samsung to produce enough displays, and on many partners to produce reliable Face ID components. A report from Bloomberg earlier this week suggested that Apple’s suppliers have struggled to create reliable Face ID components, but Apple branded the reporting “completely false.”

It’ll be weeks, if not months, until we see the iPhone X available in stores on a regular basis, but delivery times could have been a lot worse than what we’re seeing right now. But we’ll have to wait for sales numbers before we can say whether the better than expected availability is due to soft demand, or Apple ramping up production faster than analysts expected.