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First shipment of Apple's iPhone X limited to just 46,500 units

By Roger Fingas

Apple's main assembly partner, Foxconn, recently sent out its first shipment of the iPhone X -- but that batch included just 46,500 units, according to one report.

The units traveled from Zhengzhou and Shanghai to the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, said China's Xinhuanet.com, quoted by DigiTimes. Both of those countries are among the 50-plus markets where Apple will launch the iPhone X on Nov. 3.

Foxconn has allegedly ramped up its production from 100,000 units per week to 400,000, but that number is unlikely to match demand even with the phone's $999 pricetag. Sales of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have been softer than past iPhone launches, likely because the people who can afford an X are waiting to buy one or at least see reviews. Preorders start on Oct. 27.

A string of reports have indicated that the main production obstacle is the TrueDepth camera, which handles tasks like Face ID and animoji. Most recently Nikkei narrowed the issue down to the dot projector, which casts over 30,000 points of light on a person's face in order to generate a depth map.

Analyst forecasts have called for iPhone X shipments to slot between 30 million and 36 million in 2017, and hinted that supply won't match demand until sometime next year. That could translate into weeks- or months-long shipping delays within minutes of preorders starting.

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