KGI reiterates iPhone 8 production ramp up will be delayed to as late as October-November

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reiterated his previous stance that iPhone 8 production ramp-up will be delayed to as late as October-November versus the normal August-September timeframe due to “major hardware upgrades.”

In a note to clients Tuesday, obtained by MacRumors, the analyst cautioned that any delay is likely to cause severe supply constraints and impact overall shipments during the second half of 2017.

“We are seeing more evidence that the worst-case scenario forecasted in our April 19 report could materialize,” reads the note titled “Rising probability of worst-case scenario for iPhone shipments”.

Kuo goes on to predict that “severe supply shortages” could persist for “a while” following the introduction of new iPhones in September.

“Severe supply shortages may persist for a while after the new models are launched, capping total shipments of new iPhones in the second half of 2017,” reads the note. The revered Apple analyst has now revised his iPhone shipment estimates from 100 to 110 million units down to 80 to 90 million iPhone units for the second half of 2017.

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Kuo says it remains to be seen whether demand will fully shift to iPhone 8.

That’s because, in Kuo’s view, it’s still unclear if a rumored 3D sensor will be useful. He also cited other factors such as the potential for Touch ID to be eliminated completely and intensifying smartphone competition.

Here’s an excerpt from the note:

While we are positive on potential replacement demand triggered by OLED iPhone, it’s too early to determine if demand will shift fully in that direction.

We recommend investors keep tabs on the following issues:

(1) whether the 3D sensor of OLED iPhone provides an innovative user experience;

(2) whether OLED iPhone cancels Touch ID (fingerprint recognition);

and (3) whether Apple’s competitors launch more innovative products which could compete with OLED iPhone in 4Q17-2Q18.

If iPhone 8 is indeed facing a delayed launch as Kuo has suggested, Apple could still preview the handset alongside the iterative iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus updates in September.

The company could then choose to launch the OLED iPhone in small quantities before its suppliers are able to fully ramp up production.

Image: CNC-machined iPhone 8 chassis based on leaks via Benjamin Geskin