Apple's iPhone X — the first iPhone with a "TrueDepth" camera — may not be the only smartphone suffering from problems with 3D sensor production, as shipments for competing products are also reportedly being delayed.
Chinese vendors Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are nominally scheduled to launch 3D sensor-equipped phones in the fourth quarter of 2017, but are having to delay shipments until the first half of 2018 due to low yield rates for modules produced by a Qualcomm/Himax partnership, DigiTimes sources said on Thursday. The people also claimed that Apple has downgraded its December-quarter shipment forecasts for the iPhone X, something consistent with recent analyst estimates.
Three separate reports have claimed that the TrueDepth camera is creating production bottlenecks. Most recently, the Wall Street Journal said that the camera includes two components — dubbed "Romeo" and "Juliet" — the former of which is more difficult to make, and hence creating a supply imbalance.
The camera is a major selling point of the iPhone X, enabling the Face ID system for tasks like unlocking the phone and using Apple Pay. It also supports animoji in Messages.
Industry-wide problems could give Apple an edge, since the company is nevertheless planning to ship the iPhone X on Nov. 3, following a preorder period starting Oct. 27. It will however cost at least $999, with a 256-gigabyte model coming in at $1,149.