- Only 20 million units of Apple's eagerly awaited iPhone X will be released this year, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Tuesday. That equals roughly half of what Apple intended.
- The delay stems from an issue with bonding in the OLED panels allowing facial recognition, which recurred during production.
- Apple executives are alleged to be speaking with alternative manufacturers to potentially increase production. Their primary source for OLEDs is Samsung.
It's no surprise that the rumors of an iPhone X delay proved true.
The reports have been varied and persistent: whether it was Samsung's short supply of OLED screens, which caused speculation that the company was prioritizing its own needs over that of Apple, or the likelihood that a shortage would likely cost Apple at least $17 million dollars, in the end, what matters is that interested customers will not get the X model when they wish, the clearest indication possible of supply chain failure.
Sometimes supply chain disruptions are easily traced to a specific source. In this case, the source is Apple itself, for placing all responsibility for a part on one supplier: Samsung. One of the first rules of avoiding supply chain risk is to create fallback suppliers in case of bad weather, quality errors, shortages, or any other reason for potential delay. Whether Apple erred in its timing — becoming reliant on a single supplier for its OLED screens in order to make an anniversary deadline, or by offering too much, too soon — Apple could have immediately announced a delay in releasing the X model until January 2018. The fact is that even Tim Cook's supply chain background couldn't save the company from this limited release and the losses it will cause.