After months of rumors about the iPhone X supply shortages, Apple CEO Tim Cook has finally spoken on the issue. The 10th-anniversary iPhone goes up for pre-orders on Friday (Here’s how to pre-order) and hits the store shelves on November 3. Ahead of the iPhone X debut, Apple has overhauled its homepage to put the new product front and center. Apple’s revamped homepage touts the new features of the iPhone X.
“We’ll see what happens,” says Tim Cook
For months, the rumor mill has claimed that there won’t be enough iPhone X units to satisfy the holiday quarter demand. It means a large number of deliveries could be pushed back to the first quarter of 2018. Though Wall Street analysts differ on the iPhone X availability during the December quarter, they all generally agree that the iPhone X supply will be much lower than the demand.
The rumors and speculations about its shortage haven’t gone away as the phone’s release inches closer. In a press release on Tuesday, Apple told potential buyers that they are “encouraged to arrive early” in stores if they want to buy the device. It means the smartphone would be available only in limited quantities, and there could be long lines in front of stores.
In a brief interview with BuzzFeed, Apple chief executive Tim Cook talked about the iPhone X supply issues, his potential successor as Apple CEO, and augmented reality. When asked about the iPhone X, Cook said, “We’ll see what happens.” He didn’t dive into how severe the iPhone X production issues are, but he assured fans that “we’ll be working as hard as possible to make as many as possible.”
In an earlier interview with Good Morning America, Tim Cook had tried to address the concerns about the iPhone X price. It will be the first iPhone to break the psychological barrier of $1,000, and it is out of reach for a lot of Apple fans. However, Cook said that the iPhone X was a bargain considering the technology you are getting. He added that the iPhone X would set the tone for the next decade.
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Cook told BuzzFeed that he believes augmented reality would become as big as smartphone apps are today. In 2008, people thought they were never going to use apps when Apple launched the mobile app store. Now apps have become an integral part of our lives. The same will happen with augmented reality. “It will literally change everything,” he added.
When asked about rumors that Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts could succeed him as Apple’s next chief executive, Tim Cook said Ahrendts might want to answer that question. The retail head dismissed the rumors, calling them “fake news.” Cook added that his role as Apple CEO was “to prepare as many people as I can” to be CEO. It is up to Apple’s board to decide at that point in time.
Apple to make only 20 million iPhone X units this year
Tim Cook’s comment comes after Japanese publication Nikkei reported that Apple would be able to produce only half of the planned iPhone X units this year. The company was initially planning to make 40 million units by the end of this year. But it will be able to ship only 20 million units due to technical issues with components for the Face ID facial recognition system.
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Nikkei added that Apple’s suppliers had achieved the production rate of 10 million units per month. Apple is expected to increase the output further in the coming weeks. Supply chain sources told Nikkei that Apple was in advanced talks with other component manufacturers for additional production of certain components. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said earlier that there will be only 2-3 million iPhone X units available at launch. By comparison, pre-orders are expected to be tens of millions.
All the major carriers in the US and other countries are offering steep discounts and offers to lure buyers. The US carriers are allowing you to pay for the phone in installments. Sprint is offering $350 discount if you trade-in your old smartphone, while T-Mobile is giving $300 to people turning in their old phones. In the UK, Vodafone is giving the iPhone X buyers free AirPods.
iPhone X supply issues could force people to switch to Android
Ahead of the iPhone X debut, Apple has asked its manufacturing partners to cut the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus production by about 50% in November and December. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus haven’t garnered huge sales. The phones are selling even lower than the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which received a price cut in September. Research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) said that the iPhone 8 is selling more like an ‘S’ version.
Amid the iPhone X supply shortages and reduction in the iPhone 8 production, Apple may find it difficult to meet the holiday demand. It may force many potential buyers to switch to Android phones rather than wait for the iPhone X for months. There are some good Android phones available in the market such as the Galaxy Note 8, LG V30, and Google Pixel 2.