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The iPhone 8 may be very hard to get until 2018

The iPhone 8 may be very hard to get until 2018

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James Bareham

It’s sounding more and more like the iPhone 8 won’t arrive until nearly the end of 2017, a couple months after Apple usually introduces new iPhones.

The latest sign comes from Ming-Chi Kuo, the reliable KGI Securities analyst, who says mass production of the iPhone 8 may not start until October or November, according to 9to5Mac.

There are almost always reports ahead of every iPhone launch saying that Apple is going to have limited supplies of its new phone, but the situation this year seems to be quite a bit different. Apple typically starts mass production of new iPhones several months before they’re announced and still faces supply constraints. If Apple isn’t beginning mass production on the iPhone 8 until October or November, they’ll almost certainly be hard to come by until early 2018.

A longer wait for a truly new iPhone design

Kuo’s assessment adds to the mounting evidence of a delayed — or, at least, severely supply constrained — iPhone 8. Just last week, Bloomberg reported that the iPhone 8 could be delayed by “one or two months,” and Mac Otakara is also expecting a delayed launch.

The general consensus is that the iPhone 8 will feature a new design with an OLED display and a nearly bezel-free look. That means the phone will do away with the iPhone’s iconic home button. Apple is also rumored to be adding wireless charging and a front-facing camera with Kinect-like abilities to track motion in 3D.

More and more images purporting to be leaked iPhone 8 parts and schematics have been coming out over the past few weeks to back all of this up. The origins of these photos are basically unknown, which means there’s very, very good reason to be suspicious of them, but they at least offer an idea of what we’re expecting to see this fall.

One supposed model that was posted yesterday resembles the original iPhone:

Another purported schematic showed the same vertical camera setup, but flat sides and a rear fingerprint sensor.

It’s entirely possible that these are both somewhat legitimate, as Apple probably hasn’t finalized the iPhone 8’s design at this point and may be trying to determine what’s possible. The fingerprint sensor’s absence on one of the models may be telling: Apple is supposedly trying to build a fingerprint sensor beneath the phone’s display, but if it can’t, it may have to move the sensor around back like Android phones have done for a couple years.

There doesn’t appear to be any one aspect of the phone responsible for the predicted delay. Instead, Kuo reportedly says it’s a matter of Apple ordering several key, custom components that it’s going to take manufacturers a while to get up to speed on.

Despite the apparent delay, Apple is still expected to announce the iPhone 8 in September, when it usually announces new phones. That’s because Apple is reportedly planning to introduce an iPhone 7S at the same time. The 7S is expected to retain the design of the iPhone 7, but — like other S generations — bump the phone’s specs in a handful of different ways to set it apart.

That phone is expected to launch on time.