We’ve been hearing murmurings about the iPhone 8 being delayed for quite some time now, including chatter among Apple suppliers earlier this month. In fact, we heard talk of a delay for the iPhone 8 at least once a month for the last three months (Here are April and March). However, it seems almost everyone has given up on that… except for one analyst who appears to have a somewhat questionable track record when it comes to forecasting all things Apple.
iPhone 8 production ramp pushed into next year?
Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang said in a note to investors that it wouldn’t be surprising if production for the OLED-equipped iPhone ends up being pushed back into the second half of September. In fact, he said production on the iPhone 8 may not even ramp until the March quarter. He also believes the forecast has been cut from between 100 million and 110 million units to a mere 85 million to 90 million.
The analyst blamed the rumored problems with embedding the fingerprint sensor in the display of the iPhone 8, saying that the result will probably be an extreme shortage of components until late in the December quarter. Notably, we did hear today that Apple finally found success in embedding the fingerprint scanner in the display.
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We also heard a possible launch date for the iPhone 8 this week. The rumor mill says the big reveal is set for Sept. 17 with sales to begin on Sept. 25.
Could any competitor really topple the mighty Apple?
The Rosenblatt analyst also warned that competitors could take advantage of Apple’s delay in getting the iPhone 8 out. The Samsung Note 8, the Huawei Mate 9 and other Chinese-branded smartphones with large screen-to-body ratios may rush to fill the gap, he said. He also noted that OPPO could be planning to launch a 3D sensing smartphone while Google could release a virtual reality smartphone called the Tango, both in the December quarter.
The result is that “the iPhone 8 could lose its competitiveness when the market fills up with high screen-to-body ratio smartphones and 3D glasses,” he summed up. He also reiterated his Neutral rating and $120 price target on Apple stock.
Is this analyst right about the iPhone 8 delay?
The other reports about the iPhone 8 being delayed mentioned a delay of only one to two months, although the phone was said to still be planned for release in time for Christmas. Apple Insider also listed some reasons to question the report from Rosenblatt.
For example, they got the feeling from reading the note that Zhang was unaware about the rumored differences between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus. Apple is widely believed to be planning three handsets this year, with the former device being the so-called special tenth anniversary edition featuring much more exciting features than the other two.
Apple Insider also noted that Zhang said in April 2016 that the iPhone 7 needed a “panel upgrade” because there weren’t any other possible feature upgrades that could drive demand. That was despite his acknowledgement of other rumored upgrades for last year’s model. The analyst also predicted a decline in units in last year’s holiday quarter, but that turned out to be incorrect.
Apple stock ticked lower by as much as 0.14% to $153.66 during regular trading hours on Friday.