DigiTimes has come out with a report citing sources with some smartphone chip suppliers that may indicate some smartphone manufacturers are playing it safe in the lead up to the launch of the iPhone 8. The new iPhone 8 report claims that chip orders from non-Apple manufacturers have slowed down significantly and some believe that the reason for the slowdown is a desire from manufacturers to wait and see what Apple has up its sleeve.
Of course, a report like this should be taken with a grain of salt as it appears to include a lot of speculation on the part of the writer and the manufacturers. There are a million reasons why companies may delay mobile chip orders. For example, some manufacturers may believe there is a new processor being announced soon that they would like to include in their upcoming flagship.
With that said, it’s not entirely impossible that this new iPhone 8 report is accurate and manufacturers are, in fact, taking a wait-and-see approach regarding their own upcoming smartphone launches. As much as people love to point out areas in which Apple has copied other manufacturers, there are also many features that Apple has originally inspired. There are also some features that Apple has been rumored to include that may or may not be a hit with consumers. Manufacturers may want to see how the public responds to some of these features before choosing to move ahead with their own version of the feature or leave it behind in the junk pile.
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The embedded Touch ID fingerprint sensor is a great example of this. Rumors have stated that Apple was trying to embed the Touch ID sensor underneath the screen. Some more recent leaks have suggested that Apple was not able to accomplish this and may have moved Touch ID to the side of the device or removed it entirely, instead opting to trust their 3D face scanning technology. With so many rumors swirling, it’s hard to pin down what is true and what isn’t. It’s also hard to assess how the features (or lack thereof) will be received by the people that really matter: the consumers. For example, if Apple moves ahead with no Touch ID sensor and only offers 3D face scanning, competing manufacturers could wait to see how that decision plays out for Apple. If people turn their nose at the iPhone 8 because of certain inclusions or exclusions then manufacturers may have a better idea of how they should move forward. Admittedly, that is some uninspired planning but it does make sense when you’re about to spend millions of dollars on manufacturing and marketing of a new smartphone.
Still, features like 3D face scanning shouldn’t depend too heavily on what kind of chip is inside a smartphone, assuming we’re talking about flagship devices that will presumably be running the latest and greatest chips. Perhaps manufacturers don’t want a supply of chips just sitting around, waiting to be put into devices? Again, this is all a lot of speculation and a serious lack of substance but I’m trying to consider all angles as to why manufacturers would delay their chip orders.
There is also the possibility that manufacturers are reducing chip orders in anticipation of lower sales due to the 10th anniversary of the iPhone as well as an expected big push from Samsung with the Galaxy Note 8 launch. Rather than drop a lot of money on manufacturing chips only to fall flat in this fall release season, some manufacturers may be choosing to hold back initially and ramp up production if they see that the iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8 are not selling as well as expected.
Probably the most interesting part of this new iPhone 8 report is that chip orders from Apple have ramped up recently which would indicate that the smartphone will be ready for its usual launch window. This would seem to push back against some rumors that suggested the iPhone 8 would be delayed, although those rumors have slowed down in the last week or two with most analysts now believing that the iPhone 8 will launch on time. With an expected September reveal, we won’t have to wait long to find out whether Apple’s new smartphone release is delayed or not.
As I mentioned, this new iPhone 8 report should be taken with a huge grain of salt. It may very well be true that some manufacturers are choosing to delay their chip orders but there are a variety of reasons they may choose to do so. Simply waiting it out in order to copy Apple’s features is probably not a great strategy but, again, it does make a small amount of sense. I’ve always thought the differences between iPhones and other smartphones are what makes fall release season so exciting. However, some manufacturers may not feel the same way, especially if they think the iPhone 8 is going to take the world by storm.