Two supply chain reports, one from an analyst and one from a purported parts supplier, make different clams about the manufacturing start date of Apple's feature-laden anniversary "iPhone 8." But there has been no serious indication thus far that Apple will stray from its typical annual September launch window.
Integrated circuit foundry Win Semiconductors has allegedly been selected as a supplier for power amplifiers for the so-called "iPhone 8." Sources familiar with the company expect to see revenues picking up late in the second quarter of 2017 as a result of needing components for Apple's normal September iPhone delivery cycle.
In contrast, BlueFin Research Partners' John Donovan and Steve Mullane wrote on Monday that they are seeing indications that the "iPhone 8" is hitting manufacturers sooner than expected, assuming that previous manufacturing trends are consistent. Donovan and Mullane claim that builds starting in June of the "iPhone 8" will be 300 percent greater than that of the previous generation, with a "modest decline" in construction of older models during the same time frame.
The analysts claim that full volume production of a new iPhone model doesn't generally ramp up until early September, so the build volumes earlier than previous timetables is notable, and unusual. An earlier than normal release is not expected, however.
It is not clear where BlueFin is sourcing its data. BlueFin's claims about early production in June can't be completely accurate, however, if Win Semiconductors' deliveries of the power amplifiers don't even begin in earnest until July.
Apple's rumored "iPhone 8" may be released in September alongside an "iPhone 7s" family, and is said to feature next-generation technology like an OLED "wraparound" screen with Touch ID home button and other sensors embedded behind the glass. Recent rumblings out of Apple's East Asian supply chain suggest the device will ditch aluminum for forged stainless steel as part of a "glass sandwich" design reminiscent of the iPhone 4 series.