UPDATE: 03-24-2017: We are well accustomed by now to seeing huge queues for new iPhone releases. And this may be even more prominent with the release of the iPhone 8, following news which has emerged this week.

Paltry stock

Three iPhone releases are expected in September, with the iPhone 8 been accompanied by two iPhone 7S models. But a new report suggests that the initial stock of the iPhone 8 will be so minimal that consumers can expect it to sell out almost immediately once preorders begin. It is noted that production for certain components to be utilized in the iPhone 8 can only commence in the third quarter, suggesting that Apple is likely to have enough stock to meet demand when the device launches.

iPhone 8 Plus
Image Source: iphone8plus.com

This prediction is contained in a major new research note from the investment bank Barclays. It suggests that the majority of iPhone 8 stock may not be available until later in Q4. “Suppliers generally had good things to say about the upcoming iPhone 8 launch (for our purposes iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone Pro) as new features drive a more complicated manufacturing process and higher ASPs,” the report suggests.

Barclays also provided some additional details regarding the next iPhone generation in its report. “We now believe that all three devices will feature wireless charging and will all be launched in the normal September timeframe, although the majority of iPhone Pro volumes may not be available until Q4”. This is consistent with previous rumors related to the iPhone 8, suggesting that this report can be considered particularly credible.

Technology manufacturers producing a rather paltry number of units for release dates is certainly not unusual. Recently both the PlayStation 4 virtual reality unit and Nintendo Switch console sold out extremely rapidly, after Sony and Nintendo released a relatively conservative number of models for the release date.

Aside from making economic sense, this approach also offers PR benefits, making it seem that demand for the devices is particularly high. While this is hardly likely to be a problem for the relentlessly successful iPhone, it hardly creates an enviable impression if technology companies have large amounts of unsold stock on their hands.

Prototypes under testing

Elsewhere this week, Macotakara, a Japanese tech website, revealed that Apple is currently testing several prototypes as part of the process of finalising the makeup of the iPhone 8. This suggests that the consumer electronics giant is yet to settle on a final design for the next generation smartphone. It also implies that the physical construction of the iPhone 8 will be taken extremely seriously, with Apple possibly considering a significant redesign of the iPhone concept.

Macotakara suggests that some of the models being tested do not feature a physical Home button, while others are notable for differing chassis designs. Glass, ceramic and aluminum designs are all included in the prototypes being assessed, meaning that the all-glass predictions being made for the iPhone 8 may yet be premature.

It is suggested by the Japanese website that Apple is currently validating tests of the iPhone 8 units, and it requires more time in order to procure materials needed to finalize its design decisions. “Multiple prototype models exist for this model and the development continues to be carried out in parallel with EVT,” Macotakara asserted. “The production level of development on various models are being done such as the models with IPS TFT, AMOLED, the model with or without home button, in addition to the models with a new glass, aluminum chassis, white ceramics etc”.

5-inch display linked

Reports from Japan, though, also suggest that Apple has decided on a few features that will form part of the iPhone 8 armory, with a 5-inch display expected. This would mean that the iPhone 8 possesses a somewhat larger screen then previous iPhone releases, although the attendant iPhone 7S handsets may retain the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays that have been used before.

It is also believed that the dual-camera technology so strongly linked with the iPhone 8 will indeed materialise, while the Japanese publication also echoes predictions on wireless charging capabilities of the smartphone.

OLED update

Meanwhile, Nikkei Asian Review, another publication with strong links to the Apple supply chain, suggests that two of the three models released later this year will feature the traditional liquid-crystal displays, while a third will benefit from a 5.8-inch organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen. This obviously contradicts the opinion of Macotakara, suggesting that the iPhone 8 will feature the largest display ever included in an Apple device.

Possible delay

It was also interestingly suggested by this source that Apple will announce the iPhone 8 – or iPhone Edition as the Nikkei Asian Review dubbed it – alongside the other two iPhone 7S devices, but that the release date of the iPhone 8 will actually be later in the year. This is an interesting proposition, and perhaps meshes accurately with previous reports regarding components.

There have already been suggestions that the iPhone 8 will be a pricey smartphone when it is released, and Nikkei certainly agrees with this verdict. “By adding more large-screen options to the lineup to meet grousing demand for BIG, Apple intends to raise the average iPhone price, which has already gone up by about 10% in the past three years to nearly $700,” Nikkei reported. It had already been reported previously that the iPhone 8 could retail at over $1,000 when released, making it the most expensive handset that Apple has ever produced.

It has also been reported this week that augmented reality features will be among the defining functionality of the iPhone 8. This tallies with previous comments from CEO Tim Cook, who has explicitly suggested that the technology has huge potential. “I think AR is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology. So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on,” Cook stated some months ago.

Apple may even release the iPhone 8 with a pair of eyeglasses especially designed to accompany augmented reality technology. It all adds up to an intriguing iPhone 8 release later this year.

UPDATE: 03-17-2017: A new report from TrendForce has reiterated the idea that Apple will release three separate modules in its iPhone range in 2017. One of the devices will be branded the iPhone 8, with the other two possibly attracting the iPhone 7S moniker. Thus, we will likely see an iPhone 8 released alongside iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus devices.

Sales positive

TrendForce also suggested that iPhone sales will pick up significantly in 2017, and that the calendar year could be something of a landmark one for the Californian corporation. Apple hasn’t exactly struggled over the last 18 months, but its sales have slowed down slightly as the smartphone niche begins to recede somewhat. It has been suggested by numerous publications that we may already have reached ‘peak smartphone’, and the big players in this niche must now demonstrate that they can reinvigorate the public imagination.

iPhone 8
FunkyFocus / Pixabay

But the opinion of TrendForce has been backed up by a major investment bank Morgan Stanley. Kate Huberty, an analyst at the

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