Early reports of low fall 2018 iPhone orders under attack from other sources
Also citing supply chain sources, a noted analyst who was correct about iPhone X demand has chimed in regarding order quantities of the late 2018 iPhone lineup.
Following the Nikkei report, Katy Huberty from Morgan Stanley delved deeper into the situation. Huberty believes that investor tumult over the Nikkei report suggesting that there would be a decrease is "understandable at face value" but "overblown."
Huberty notes that the 100 million iPhones ordered in the second half of 2017 was 89 million devices, not the 100 million that Nikkei suggested. She is expecting to see 90 million devices ordered — a small increase from 2017, not a 20 percent decrease.
The three iPhone models currently speculated to arrive this fall include two models with OLED screens measuring 6.5 inches and 5.8 inches, while a third is equipped with a 6.1-inch TFT LCD. Most sources now claim that all three will have the TrueDepth camera array and use Face ID, but the LCD model will be singled out as a cost-effective model while the OLED versions will have more premium pricing and specifications.
Two report sources claim that, in order to avoid any manufacturing delays that allegedly occurred during the initial production of the iPhone X, suppliers were informed by Apple to prepare for the two OLED models earlier than "normal" in 2018. Increased preparation ahead of production could fend off component shortages and quality control issues that were said to have caused last year's manufacturing problems.
There is some speculation that the LCD model will be delayed, due to production yield issues surrounding its touchscreen functionality, but the situation is apparently improving. Bottlenecks in integrating the TrueDepth camera array into the LCD screen are also said to be easing, removing another hurdle that could cause manufacturing delays.
Foxconn will continue to be the main iPhone assembler this year, with it said to handle all 5.8-inch OLED units and 80 to 90 percent of the 6.5-inch OLED version, as well as 30 percent of LCD model orders. Pegatron is identified as taking 60 percent of the LCD orders and between 10 and 15 percent of the 6.5-inch OLED model orders, while Wistron makes up the remainder.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously spoken out about such reporting and supply chain analysis, advising for industry observers to avoid relying too heavily on these types of rumors. "The supply chain is very complex, and we obviously have multiple sources for things," Cook advised in 2013, adding that some reports could be based on a "single data point," and basing assumptions on limited quantities of data is not recommended.
Reports in January claimed Apple had cut its iPhone X production, citing slower-than-expected holiday sales" among other claims. On February 1, Apple revealed it had continued to improve its holiday quarter revenue year-on-year, and though overall iPhone sales had dropped, it had reduced by only 1.2 percent year-on-year while simultaneously achieving the highest average selling price of $796.42.