Noted analyst claims 5.5-inch iPhone 6 could delay until 2015 over production woes

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In his new research note issued to clients Monday, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cautions that Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 6 could be delayed until after October and possibly until 2015, over yield issues with its in-cell touch panel and metal casing.

According to the analyst, panels this large exhibit issues where the edge of the panel may become insensitive to touch. Also, under Apple’s new manufacturing process for the iPhone 6 metal casing, “color unevenness is an issue,” wrote Kuo…

Kuo wrote:

Production bottlenecks on 4.7-inch iPhone 6 center on the yield rate of in-cell touch panel and metal casing. As in-cell touch panel becomes larger in size, the edge of the panel may become insensitive to touch. Meanwhile, under new manufacturing process for the iPhone 6 metal casing, color unevenness is an issue.

In addition, an excerpt from Kuo’s note, obtained by MacRumors, adds this:

In addition, from a technical perspective, we don’t expect sapphire cover, used for the first time on the 5.5-inch model, will easily pass the drop test near term.

A pair of stress test videos of a claimed iPhone 6 sapphire screen cover suggest deploying the precious gemstone could yield a virtually unbreakable iPhone.

Duo to the reasons stated above, the analyst is “conservative” about the 5.5-inch handset launching by end-2014.

Even if the product is launched in 2014, it is likely to take place after mid-4Q14, which is later than the September-October of consensus, with shipments being lower than consensus of 15- 20 million units.

It’s been previously rumored that the device could get delayed over issues related to its large panel and ultra-thin batteries.

For instance, Taiwanese sources claimed Apple’s battery cell suppliers – which include LG Chemical and Samsung – were finding it difficult to match Apple’s exacting standards to produce components measuring 2mm or less.

Also, Reuters said said suppliers ran into difficulties with in-cell technology, pushing back production of 5.5-inch panels until several more months. However, Bloomberg recently learned both handsets had gone into production ahead of a September launch.

Kuo’s predictions when it comes to Apple have been rather accurate, though not so much in terms of the timing. It’s worth mentioning that the same analyst last week pushed back his estimated time of iWatch mass production from late-September to mid-to-late- November.