There have been many rumors about the launch schedule of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) upcoming OLED iPhone. Recently, Economic Daily News, via DIGITIMES, indicated that the OLED iPhone would see mass production pushed out to the November-to-December time frame.
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In an apparent contradiction to that report, analyst Rod Hall (via AppleInsider) said that he expects "a small amount of late September EMS for the Pro model and then ramping through October with target output levels achieved in late October/early November." (EMS, for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, stands for "electronics manufacturing services.")
Based on this expectation, Hall reportedly cut his fiscal fourth-quarter iPhone shipments from 49.5 million to 42.2 million, but boosted his fiscal year 2018 iPhone shipment estimates to 270.2 million from 262.9 million.
Hall also notes that, because "production costs are slightly higher" than his team had previously expected, he's boosting his OLED iPhone average-selling-price expectation to $1,100 from a previous $1,000.
Does this make sense?
What Hall says doesn't seem to contradict other reports by that much. Though Hall expects a "small amount" of OLED iPhone production at the tail end of September, he's calling for "target output levels" to be achieved in "late October/early November."
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It's certainly quite plausible that, when other publications and analysts have given production time frames for the OLED iPhone of "October to November" or even of "November to December," they're talking about Apple's contract-manufacturing partners achieving the "target output levels" that Hall mentioned in his note. This could very well be a case of multiple analysts looking at the same proverbial elephant from multiple different perspectives and coming to slightly different conclusions.
What ultimately matters
At this point, it's probably safe to assume that Apple's OLED iPhone won't be available in particularly high quantities at launch, and even with a relatively steep price tag, demand for the device should dramatically outstrip initial supply. Obviously, it's better for Apple to build a product that it can offer for a steep price and still be supply constrained than to build a device that's easy to manufacture, widely available, but not particularly in demand.
Moreover, if Apple begins taking orders for the device this fall, then it should be able to minimize the risk of customers "giving up" and opting for cheaper iPhone models -- or competing smartphone models -- instead. Those orders may be accompanied by extremely long wait times, but if the new iPhone is as compelling as reports suggest that it will be -- and it would be darn near perfect if Apple can get the in-display fingerprint scanner working -- it should be worth the wait.
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