Apple iPhone X price, features, specs and release date: iPhone Xs and Xs Max hit UK stores
Apple's latest flagship is now available, replacing the iPhone X
30/01/18: Apple will cut its iPhone X production by half from this month, telling manufacturers and parts suppliers demand had been lower than anticipated and only 20 million units were needed, rather than the 40 million it predicted it would need in November.
The company said it had experienced slower than usual sales over the Christmas period than it expected. Could be the higher price point to blame? Were people satisfied just to upgrade to the iPhone 8? Quite possibly, although Apple doesn't like to give away too much when it comes to sales figures.
Nikkei Asian Review even speculated this lack of demand could have a knock-on effect on Apple rolling out its OLED screens, as seen on the iPhone X to other models. When the iPhone X was first released, it was no secret Apple struggled to get the parts together it needed for the iPhone X, which meant it was chasing its tail when the device first launched.
"The production cuts for the X will have a domino effect on manufacturers that supply high-performance components for the handset, with the combined impact expected to run into billions of dollars for the January-March quarter alone," the website commented.
Apple is expected to keep its iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus production line going, churning out 30 million units to meet demand.
22/01/2018: iPhone X and iPhone 8 models account for 61% of iPhone sales
Apple's new iPhone models - the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X - accounted for 61% of Apple smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2017, although this is still significantly lower than 2016's launch models, CIRP (via 9to5Mac) has revealed.
However, the effect this had on revenues is negligible because the iPhone X comes at such a higher price than the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. However, it was those older models of the iPhone that sold better over the Christmas period specifically, the study said.
The consumer study said that between October and December 2017, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for around 25% of total iPhone sales in the period, while six percent of iPhone purchases were for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
The staggered on-sale dates also confused things somewhat, because the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were on sale earlier than the iPhone X. Previous iPhone launches resulted in the new devices coming out on the same date, making easier to gauge the success of the launches.
As a comparison, 72% of iPhone sales in the same period of 2016 were for the newest iteration of the device (the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus).
22/01/2018: iPhone X sales will fall 'significantly' this quarter
Sales of Apple's new iPhone X smartphone will be significantly lower for the quarter than previous estimates, a new report predicts, thanks largely due to longer replacement cycles in some of its largest markets.
The report by KGI Securities estimates that Apple will ship 18 million units during the current quarter, way down on previous predictions of between 20 million and 30 million sales.
It's also thought that the iPhone X will reach its 'end-of-life' by mid-2018 as the company prepares to release a newer generation that uses cheaper components, including a 6.1in LCD screen, according to the report, seen by 9to5Mac.
The revision comes just weeks after Apple reportedly slashed its sales prediction from 50 million to 30 million after demand for the high-end phone waned since its launch. The downturn in sales has been blamed on a longer refresh cycle, as large numbers of Chinese customers are holding onto their existing devices instead of upgrading to the iPhone X, the most expensive smartphone Apple has ever released.
It's also thought that the iPhone X's 'notch' at the top of the screen, a design that has proved unpopular with many users, has turned a large number of Chinese customers away, despite it facilitating many advanced features such as Face ID.
Provided the iPhone X reaches end-of-life by the middle of the year, the report suggests Apple will have sold 62 million units by that point, significantly lower than previous forecasts of 80 million. However, thanks to healthier demand for some of Apple's older smartphones - such as the iPhone SE, which is expected to see a five percent bump year-on-year - the company is unlikely to take a huge hit on overall growth.
What's more, Apple's upcoming releases are likely to fuel a spike in sales as many customers currently waiting to upgrade will be looking forward to a cheaper version of the iPhone X.
03/01/2018: Apple 'may slash iPhone X 2018 sales predictions'
Apple may be forced to reduce its Q1 2018 sales forecast for the iPhone X from 50 million down to 30 million as demand for the flagship phone wanes, it is claimed.
The report comes from the Taiwan Economic Daily News (via Bloomberg), which apparently got the intel from Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (Foxconn). The company has now stopped recruiting workers to assemble the device.
"We maintain that 2017 fourth-quarter iPhone X volumes were at 30 to 35 million and we are very sceptical that volumes will increase in the first quarter of 2018," CLSA analyst Nicholas Baratte told investors. "This does not reconcile with the expectation of pent-up demand or push-out to the first quarter of 2018 in our opinion: consumers who wanted to get an iPhone X in December 2017 already have it."
Although there were supply issues when the iPhone X was first made available, Apple quickly ramped up production to ensure it could meet early adopter demand. But the report claims that interest in 2018 will wane, meaning Hon Hai has had to halt the recruitment of workers.
However, releasing a lower-cost version of the iPhone X, with some of its headline features, could well help Apple's figures bounce back, Canalys analyst Jia Mo suggested.
"The market will still hold high expectations for Apple's 2018 products if Apple introduces more devices with iPhone X's key features to cover a wider price range," Mo told the publication.
18/12/2017: Under-glass fingerprint scanner could make Face ID obsolete
Synaptics has revealed details of its under-glass fingerprint sensor, that could well make facial recognition technology like Face ID something of the past.
It has been suggested that Apple opted to implement Face ID because it was finding it too difficult to add the Touch ID fingerprint sensor under the full glass panel of the iPhone X. However, it could have used Synaptics' technology that solves this challenge.
The Clear ID FS9500 can scan a fingerprint through glass with just one tap from the finger, meaning manufacturers can integrate an invisible sensor into their displays. It works even if the finger is wet, dry or cold, while the glass covering will ensure the screen remains unscratched and protected against water.
The company claims its technology is twice as fast as using face scanning and, because it's integrated with SentryPoint technology, it's a completely secure solution.
"Consumers prefer fingerprint authentication on the front of the phone, and with the industry quickly shifting to bezel-free OLED infinity displays, the natural placement of the fingerprint sensor is in the display itself," said Kevin Barber, senior vice president and general manager, Mobile Division, Synaptics.
"Synaptics' Clear ID fingerprint sensors are faster, more convenient, and more secure than alternative biometrics, and this optical technology represents a major innovation shift and opportunity for the smartphone market."
The company added that the technology will begin to be incorporated into smartphone models as early as next year.
Image courtesy of Synaptics
15/12/2017: The iPhone X's adoption rate blasts past the iPhone 8's
More people have bought the iPhone X than the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus according to data from analytics providers Mixpanel, despite the former being the more expensive of the three.
The iPhone X has been adopted by 4.67 percent of all iPhone users, while the iPhone 8 Plus is the second favourite of the three with 3.59 percent and the iPhone 8 is being used by 2.78 percent of people.
Another interesting trend shown by Business Insider is that the iPhone's adoption curve is much steeper than that of its cheaper counterparts. It took less than two weeks for the iPhone X to take over market share of the iPhone 8 and a week later, it pretty much matched the iPhone 8 Plus.
However, older iPhones are still the most popular, although it would seem those analyst predictions were right and people were waiting for the release of the flagship before upgrading, with market share of pre-iPhone 7 devices dropping considerably straight after the iPhone X's launch.
Apple no longer publicises the sales figures for new iPhone launches, leaving analysts to rely on other data sources when loooking at a device's success. In this case, the data comes from people interacting with apps that have been built using Mixpanel's analytics tools. While it's not a perfect tally of total device sales, it does give an indication of how the iPhone X has been recieved.
14/12/2017: Apple hands $390m to the firm that made Face ID possible
Apple has awarded the manufacturer of one of its FaceID components a $390 million (290 million) cash injection to help the development of its vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs).
Finisar, the company behind the identification technology, plus its Animoji and Portrait mode selfies, will spend the investment on research and development and a new manufacturing plant located in Texas. It also means the company can recruit an additional 500 staff in highly-skilled positions including engineers, technicians and maintenance teams.
Every single one of the VCSELs Apple puts in its iPhone X TrueDepth camera and Airpods (Finisar's VCSELs are also used for proximity detection in the earphones) will be manufactured in Texas next year when the production plant is ready at the end of the month.
An assembly tool on the Finisar manufacturing floor
"VCSELs power some of the most sophisticated technology we've ever developed and we're thrilled to partner with Finisar over the next several years to push the boundaries of VCSEL technology and the applications they enable," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer.
"Technology is only as good as the people behind it, and Finisar is a company with a long history of putting its employees first and supporting the community it's a part of. We're extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse."
The investment is part of a $1 billion ($740 million) fund that Apple has put forward to encourage innovation and highly skilled jobs within US companies.
Image courtesy of Apple
12/12/2017: Can Apple deliver an iPhone X(mas)?
Apple says it can deliver its flagship device, the iPhone X, before Christmas, with its website offering an estimated delivery time of between 14 and 18 December if you order it today.
On the other hand, if you want to pick it up in store, you can do so immediately, as long as the store has the devices in stock.
Mobile phone network EE, however, claims it can dispatch the device within a day, though only the person who purchases the iPhone X can receive the delivery.
O2 says that if you order by midnight it can provide free next working day delivery.
Three offers an estimated one day delivery to your house, and the same estimate for in-store collection.
If you order before 4pm from Monday to Friday on Tesco Mobile, it says you'll get the flagship device the next working day. If you order at the weekend you'll get it within two working days.
Giffgaff offers free next day delivery on orders before 10pm, so if you leave it a bit late in the day it may be best to go with this option.
Lastly, you need to order by 9pm with the Carphone Warehouse in order to get it delivered the next day.
08/12/2017: Will the next iPhone be even bigger than the iPhone X?
Apple could launch three iPhones in 2018, including one with a larger OLED display according to Nikkei. The other could feature a smaller OLED display, while the third will stick with an LCD screen.
The source said it's spoken to someone "privy" to the company's plans, who said the OLED devices will come in 6.3in and 5.8in versions, although the report said the handset length would be these measurements, rather than specifically stating they're the screen sizes.
The LCD device will reportedly measure 6.1in and will feature a metal back, going back to iPhone designs of old. It'll also be available in a variety of colours, presumably to attract a wider range of customers. Nikkei has speculated that Casetek is the most likely supplier to produce the iPhone's rear plates because it already makes similar parts for the iPad.
If Apple does bring back the metal back, it means customers could kiss goodbye to features including wireless charging, which was the main reason the manufacturer switched to glass backs on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X this year.
A 6.3in and even a 6.1in iPhone will be significantly larger than the current iPhone flagship - the iPhone X - with its 5.8in screen, suggesting Apple is planning on upping the iPhone's footprint even more beyond the current maximum.
05/12/2017: Apple 'breaks iPhone X Face ID' with iOS update
Apple's attempt to fix a bug that caused iPhone X devices to crash when clocks hit 12.15am on Saturday morning has caused problems of its own, breaking the device's Face ID security feature.
After installing the iOS 11.2 update, some users reported they were unable to access Face ID at all, with the message "Face ID is not available," or "unable to activate Face ID on this iPhone."
However, not all users have been affected by the update and some users said they were able to just turn their iPhone off and then on again to fix the problem, 9to5Mac reported.
The iOS 11.2 update sought to fix the crashing issue, which affected iOS's homescreen management application Springboard. Apple hasn't revealed why the clocks hitting 12.15am caused devices to crash, but Apple analyst Rene Ritchie wrote on Twitter that it may have been a conflict with users changing the date on their device to try and prevent Springboard crashing their devices.
"If you changed your #iPhoneX date to avoid the springboard crash, then updated to iOS 11.2, #FaceID won't like the bad date and you'll need to reboot to make it happy again. (Also: remember to set your date/time back to auto ASAP.)," he said.
The iPhone X wasn't supposed to be updated until later this month, but Apple was forced to push it out early because the crashing issue was so severe. iOS 11.2 also adds support for faster 7.5W wireless charging and Control Center changes.
22/11/2017: Student interns 'worked illegal hours' on iPhone X production line
Foxconn has been employing students illegally to work illegal overtime on assembling the iPhone X, it's been alleged.
Students at Foxconn, Apple's main Asian supplier, told the Financial Times they worked 11 hour days assembling the flagship device in Zhengzhou in China. This is considered as illegal overtime for student interns in China.
There were six students in total who spoke to the publication, saying they were sent along with a group of 3,000 students from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School in September to work at Foxconn's facility.
The students are aged from 17 to 19 and say they were told they had to work for three months at the factory to obtain "work experience" needed to graduate.
An 18-year-old student preparing to be a train attendant who gave her name as Yang told the FT: "We are being forced by our school to work here." She added: "The work has nothing to do with our studies."
Yang, who did not want to disclose her first name for fear of punishment, said she had assembled up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras a day.
A spokesperson for Apple told IT Pro: "Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We know our work is never done and we'll continue to do all we can to make a positive impact and protect workers in our supply chain.
"During the course of a recent audit, we discovered instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China. We've confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime. At this facility, student intern programs are short-term and account for a very small percentage of the workforce. When we found that some students were allowed to work overtime, we took prompt action. A team of specialists are on site at the facility working with the management on systems to ensure the appropriate standards are adhered to."
Foxconn told the FT that "all work was voluntary and compensated appropriately, [but] the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy", which prohibits student interns working more than 40 hours a week.
IT Pro has contacted Foxconn for comment.
There were reports that Apple was struggling to have the iPhone X ready for its scheduled launch date of 3 November due to the technology behind FaceID. Initial iPhone X shipments, to the Netherlands and UAE, were also much lower than previous iPhone shipments and some sites pointed to the device's camera as the reason for slow production times.
14/11/2017: Masked man tricks iPhone X's Face ID
Security researchers have managed to fool the iPhone X's Face ID using a specially-developed mask that bypasses the device's advanced facial recognition engine.
The outer 'skin' of the mask was handcrafted by researchers at Bkav, before being laid upon a 3D printed frame.
Other facial features, such as the mask's eyes, are merely printed images. In total, the mask cost around $150 to make, although the materials used to make the frame weren't included in that cost because it was printed from the company's own designs.
The dummy face was made in just five days, with Bkav starting developing the concept on 5 November and completing its experiments on 10 November, posting a video to show the iPhone X unlocking when the face mask is presented.
Bkav insists there wasn't any jiggery-pokery involved - the iPhone X used in the experiment was trained using a real person's face and was seemingly unlocked on the first try, although Bkav didn't reveal how many times it had tried to unlock the phone before perfecting the mask.
When Engadget approached Apple for comment about how secure Face ID really is, it pointed the website to its Face ID whitepaper, which explains in detail how the technology works and just how secure it has been proven to be.
Despite the experiment proving that Face ID isn't as secure as Apple would have you believe, it's not a huge risk for regular iPhone owners. It's unlikely anyone will go to the lengths of these researchers to break into an iPhone.
07/11/2017: At $999, the iPhone X is one of the most expensive smartphones on the market, but a teardown analysis of the device suggests it costs just $357.50 to produce.
The list of parts identified in a strip down of the device suggests Apple is enjoying a gross margin of 64% on its newest flagship smartphone, which means the iPhone X is more profitable per device than the iPhone 8, at a gross margin of 59%.
Apple has reported strong demand for the iPhone X following its official release last Friday, and it boasts some premium features to justify its high price tag. The teardown of the device, reported by Reuters referencing sources at TechInsights, found that its 5.8in edge-to-edge display cost around $65 to produce, compared to the iPhone 8's $36 screen, which follows the company's traditional design.
It also uses much pricier materials for the body, including a stainless steel chassis that costs an estimated $36 per device to manufacture, over the $21.50 the company pays for the iPhone 8.
These teardowns only source the cost of its raw components and omit other costs incurred by Apple, such as research and development and infrastructure expenses, so the real profit per phone is likely to be much lower than the 64% margin.
Apple has thrown a huge amount of research into its newest flagship, particularly when it comes to integrating features such as Face ID, considered to have been a source of delays.
However, research, advertising, and supply costs are a fact of any smartphone launch, and according to TechInsights' costing analyst, Al Cowsky, the figures show Apple is using its dominant position to charge a premium.
"Apple can be different here because they are the 800-pound gorilla," said Cowsky, speaking to Reuters.
03/11/2017: Apple reported a fourth-quarter revenue of $52.6 billion, a year-on-year increase of 12%, with international sales accounting for 62% of the quarter's revenue.
The Cupertino company's shares surged by four percent after it posted its results, while the launch of the much anticipated iPhone X, which goes on sale today with long queues reported outside Apple stores in the UK, has helped Apple's share price skyrocket.
iPhone revenue is up 16% year-on-year at $28.85 billion and Mac revenue is up 28% too at $7,170 billion. Apple's services, which include Apple Pay and Apple Care, are up 17% at $8,501 billion.
"We're happy to report a very strong finish to a great fiscal 2017, with record fourth quarter revenue, year-over-year growth for all our product categories, and our best quarter ever for services," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.
"With fantastic new products including iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV 4K joining our product lineup, we're looking forward to a great holiday season, and with the launch of iPhone X getting underway right now, we couldn't be more excited as we begin to deliver our vision for the future with this stunning device."
Revenue in China was up 12% year-on-year at $9,801 billion while it increased 20% in Europe measuring $13,009 billion.
"Apple's year-over-year revenue growth rate accelerated for the fourth consecutive quarter and drove EPS growth of 24% in the September quarter," said Luca Maestri, Apple's CFO. "We also generated strong operating cash flow of $15.7 billion and returned $11 billion to investors through our capital return program."
In an investor call, the BBC reports that Cook said the iPhone X puts Apple ahead of the competition when it comes to new augmented reality or AR technologies. Cook believes the technologies will "change everything" using the example of shoppers seeing how furniture looks in their houses before buying the product.
"I view AR as profound, not today... but what it will be, what it can be," Cook said. "I think it's profound and I think Apple is in a really unique position to lead in this area."
It emerged the iPhone X raised privacy concerns yesterday (see below) over some apps' access to Face ID data.
Matthew Rice, Scotland Director at Open Rights Group, said to IT Pro: "This isn't your run of the mill personal data. This is biometric data. People treat images of their faces differently to anything that would previously have been shared with app developers.
"The General Data Protection Regulation recognises this, and requires biometric data to be treated as sensitive personal data. Apple and App Developer's using its camera need to recognise this and take measures to show the public that they treat this seriously.
"At the moment, Apple's policy talks a good game but with GDPR we're going to need to see an effort to meet user's expectation of privacy. When it comes to images of their face, those expectations are heightened."
02/11/2017: Apple's iPhone X may face privacy issues if its technology is used to develop entertainment apps, according to experts.
The privacy and security measures Apple promised in September do not seem to extend to apps that use the technology for entertainment purposes, such as those which let you use your face to mimic a character's action on the screen.
The data in question can be stored on the app developer's servers, and includes information from the camera used in Face ID, which provides data about a user's face and expressions, according to Reuters.
While the data available to developers cannot unlock a phone, it appears that when building apps it can be shared with developers.
Apple allows app developers to take some facial data off the device but only if they agree to seek customer permission and not to sell the data on to third parties, according to a contract seen by Reuters.
The contract states that app makers need to obtain "clear and conspicuous consent" from users before collecting or storing face data. This can only be done for a legitimate feature of an app too.
Privacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology told the publication that they're worried about how Apple can enforce its privacy rules if the data is stored on a developer's servers, but Apple said its privacy enforcement measures, such as threatening to remove developers from the App Store or auditing apps, are effective.
Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, said to Reuters: "The privacy issues around of the use of very sophisticated facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone have been overblown. The real privacy issues have to do with the access by third-party developers."
Apple does not allow developers to use the data for advertising or marketing or for selling it to analytics firms that might use it in this way. The developer agreement also bans the creation of user profiles.
IT Pro has contacted Apple for comment.
30/10/2017: Apple has reportedly fired one of its engineers after his daughter posted an iPhone X hands-on video to YouTube last week.
The engineer's daughter, Brooke Amelia Peterson, published the video on YouTube last week, though it has since been taken down, according to 9to5Mac.
Peterson visited her father at Apple's campus and joined him for lunch in Caff Macs, 9to5Mac said, where he had an iPhone X.
Peterson filmed less than a minute of hands-on time with the device as part of a longer video, showing the shortcut buttons for torch and camera in the Cover Sheet and also a "Welcome to the iPhone X" banner which has tips for getting started.
She also showed the device's camera, the calendar app, a use of Animoji and the design of the device.
A notes app was shown on the device which appeared to contain code names of unreleased Apple products too, according to The Verge.
Since then, Peterson has made another video explaining how her iPhone X video went viral and how she visited her father about a month ago at Apple's headquarters. She explained she made a video about the new device as her father showed her his phone.
She said: "It [the video] suddenly went viral and I have no idea how my video got so much attention considering how many other iPhone X videos there are out there from other YouTubers."
Peterson said that Apple asked her to take it down, which she did, and that her father takes full responsibility for letting her film the device. She added that Apple "let him go" and that she isn't mad at Apple since they "had to do what they had to do".
"My dad takes absolutely full responsibility for the one rule that he broke and it was an innocent thing and to be honest I think Apple is going to do a much better job from here on out in addressing the rules and making sure everyone is aware of the rules," she said.
Apple iPhone X preorders started on Friday and an Apple spokeswoman told Reuters: "We can see from the initial response, customer demand is off the charts.
"We're working hard to get this revolutionary new product into the hands of every customer who wants one, as quickly as possible."
There has been concern among analysts about the production of the phone and whether enough devices will be produced on time. Preorders for the device sold out within mere minutes on Friday (see below).
27/10/2017: Demand for Apple's upcoming iPhone X has exceeded initial supply within mere minutes after the pre-orders for Cupertino's latest smartphone went live.
Despite the 999 starting cost of the iPhone X, there appears to be a very healthy appetite for the handset, potentially to the detriment of the iPhone 8, which has not been selling as well as previous iPhones.
Within 10 minutes of the iPhone X pre-orders going live on 27 October, the Financial Times reported Apple enthusiasts were told they would need to wait for up to four weeks before they would receive their handset, which indicated the initial supply of flagship iPhones had been exhausted.
The Face ID and edge-to-edge OLED display of the iPhone X are likely to blame for the limited supply, as the new iPhone, which marks a solid departure for the handset design Apple has been touting for the past four years, is more difficult to manufacture than its predecessors.
Analysis suggests that the supply to demand balance for the iPhone X will meet equilibrium around March, some four months after the phone's November launch.
"We believe the iPhone X will reach global supply-demand equilibrium sometime in the March quarter, or 3-4 months after launch. Typically it takes 2-3 months for a new iPhone to reach global supply-demand equilibrium," said Gene Munster, Apple analyst at Loup Ventures.
26/10/2017: Apple has denied Bloomberg's report that Face ID in the new iPhone X will be less accurate due to production difficulties.
The publication reported yesterday that Apple told manufacturers to make the iPhone X's face recognition technology less accurate in order to produce enough devices, however, Apple has denied this.
A spokesman for Apple told IT Pro: "Bloomberg's claim that Apple has reduced the accuracy spec for Face ID is completely false and we expect Face ID to be the new gold standard for facial authentication."
He added: "Face ID is a powerful and secure authentication system that's incredibly easy and intuitive to use. The quality and accuracy of Face ID haven't changed. It continues to be one in a million probability of a random person unlocking your iPhone with Face ID."
Bloomberg had reported Apple was struggling to produce a fragile component (a 3D sensor) used in Face ID, which it said was why the device was being released six weeks after the iPhone 8.
The source added that Apple relaxed some of its specifications for Face ID in order to reduce the time needed to test the sensor, although it was said to be unclear how it would affect the technology's performance.
The iPhone X, Apple's new flagship phone, is scheduled to open for preorders this Friday, 27 November, and will ship the week after, with a starting price of 999.
25/10/2017: Apple's complex iPhone X design and an "aggressive schedule" are reportedly leaving it fighting an uphill battle to have the iPhone X ready for its scheduled launch date on 3 November.
Apple told manufacturers to make the face recognition technology less accurate in order to produce enough devices, according to Bloomberg.
The publication also wrote that Foxconn pulled as many as 200 workers off the iPhone X production line about a month ago, when Apple was struggling to gather enough components for the device - in particular the 3D sensor used in Face ID to unlock the iPhone X.
Apple did not give suppliers extra time to make and assemble the device, however, which is why the iPhone X is being released six weeks after the iPhone 8. "It's an aggressive design," said the source, "and it's a very aggressive schedule."
The 3D sensor's dot projector uses a laser to help create 30,000 points of infrared light that it projects onto the user's face in order to map the image. But the laser and lens of the project are extremely fragile, slowing production. Furthermore, Apple reportedly lost one of its laser suppliers, Finisar Corp, because it did not meet Apple's specification on time.
The 3D sensor shortage is expected to end in early 2018. The Bloomberg source said that Apple has relaxed some of the specifications for Face ID, to take less time to test completed modules, although it's not clear how this will affect the technology's performance.
For Apple's comment on this story, see the story above.
The iPhone X is set to open for pre-orders this Friday and is then due to be available from 3 November.
24/10/2017: A new survey has found that demand for the iPhone X may not reach the exceptional figures as previously thought.
The survey comes from brokerage Bernstein, which conducted a survey of 1,112 iPhone owners in the US, UK and China, revealing that a quarter of survey respondents plan to buy the new device, as reported by Reuters.
"The excitement surrounding the iPhone X appears to be magnitudes higher than actual purchase intent - 48 per cent of respondents agreed/strongly agreed that they were 'excited for the iPhone X,'" Bernstein said.
The iPhone X is scheduled to open for preorders this Friday 27 October and will begin shipping from 3 November.
Despite this, a majority of iPhone users will upgrade to an Apple device in the future.
"Consumer loyalty to iPhone remains remarkably strong, despite persistent complaints about high prices and worries about declining innovation, with only three per cent of respondents stating that their next phone would *not* be an iPhone," Bernstein said.
Analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets revealed that demand was down for the iPhone 8. AT&T found the number of people wanting to upgrade their older iPhone to the iPhone 8 was down by 900,000 year-on-year.
Furthermore, Apple was hit by a lawsuit last week which claimed that the company's 'Animoji' feature infringes on an existing trademark (see below). The lawsuit states that Apple was aware of an app using the Animoji name and even tried to purchase the trademark before the iPhone X launched.
20/10/2017: Apple has reportedly been hit with a lawsuit that claims the company's 'Animoji' feature infringes on an existing trademark.
The headline feature was placed centre stage when Apple revealed the iPhone X last month, which adds 3D animated characters that act like emojis. However, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday, the name 'Animoji' already exists as a trademark, originally registered with the US patent office in 2015.
It appears the dispute is not just over a name, as Bonansea currently has a messaging app on the iOS App Store that uses the Animoji name, which, according to the lawsuit, Apple was aware of and even tried to purchase the trademark ahead of the iPhone X launch.
"This is a textbook case of willful, deliberate trademark infringement," the lawsuit reads. "With full awareness of Plaintiffs' ANIMOJI mark, Apple decided to take the name and pretend to the world that 'Animoji' was original to Apple.
"Apple knew that plaintiffs have used the ANIMOJI mark to brand a messaging product available for download on Apple's own App Store. Indeed, Apple offered to buy plaintiffs' mark but was rebuffed. Instead of using the creativity on which Apple developed its worldwide reputation, Apple simply plucked the name from a developer on its own App Store."
It also claims that Apple attempted to purchase the trademark through a number of "front" companies earlier this year, but that Bonansea rejected each offer. Failing to secure the trademark, on 11 September, one day before the iPhone X reveal, Apple moved to try and cancel the trademark, according to the lawsuit.
Bonansea hoped to release an updated version of his app this year but rushed to submit a new iteration in an attempt to prevent the public associating the trademark any further with Apple, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges this rush to market has caused "irreparable injury" to Bonansea's product and is seeking damages, as well as an injunction to stop Apple from using the Animoji name.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
18/10/2017: The iPhone X will be very hard to find initially if reports that the first batch of shipments amounts to just 46,500 units are to be believed.
The first shipments of the iPhone X have left Foxconn's Zhengzhou and Shanghai factories and are now winging their way to retailers in the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to Chinese news website Xinhuanet.com (via Digitimes). Neither site revealed why those two markets are the first to get their devices, but they're obviously key sales zones for the manufacturer, which is pinning hopes on the iPhone X to boost its sales for the year.
Although Apple isn't due to start taking pre-orders until next week (27 October) and it won't be available in buyers' hands until 3 November, retailers are prepping for the launch ahead of time so they're ready to start sending them out as soon as pre-orders start coming in.
However, the 46,500 number is much lower than previous iPhone shipments, according to Chinese site Commercial Times, and some sites report that the complexity of the X's TrueDepth camera, which enables its Face ID feature, is slowing production times.
While Foxconn will make 400,000 of the iPhone X a week, compared to 100,000, which was the original order, this still isn't enough to meet market demand, Commercial Times said.
13/10/2017: The iPhone X's Face ID feature will do more than just unlock your phone it will also hide notifications from unfamiliar faces.
The lock screen on Apple's next flagship smartphone will only show the content of notifications if Face ID recognises the face as the owner of the phone, according to Phone Arena. If someone else picks up the phone, the lock screen will not display the actual content of the notification, just the notification's source. It's a handy feature that could prove incredibly useful for maintaining a user's security and privacy.
This feature will also be available on iOS 11 although it will work a bit differently since earlier iPhones lack the hardware to power Face ID. Those running Apple's latest OS on earlier iPhone models will be able to go into settings and enable notifications with content only when the device is unlocked, much like the setting Android devices have used for a while now.
As reported by Mac Rumors, the technology used for Face ID is already being shipped to Apple, suggesting that this feature will be ready for the IPhone X when its released in early November.
29/09/2017: Apple has released a video explaining how its FaceID identification platform will work, revealing it uses neural networks to resist spoofing attempts. However, it would seem even Apple can't explain exactly how the technology works, according to the BBC.
Because it's been designed to prevent people that are not the owner from breaking into the phone, its behaviour "can be observed but the underlying process remains opaque," the BBC explained.
Although it will be able to tell the difference between its rightful owner trying to unlock the device and someone wearing a mask that closely resembles them, it will never be able to reveal how it came to the conclusion the disguised individual wasn't the person who set up Face ID.
"The developers of these kinds of systems have some level of insight into what is happening but can't really create a narrative answer for why, in a specific case, a specific action is selected," Rob Wortham, an artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Bath told the broadcaster.
"With neural networks there's nothing in there to hang on to - even if you can inspect what's going on inside the black box, you are none the wiser after doing so. There's no machinery to enable you to trace what decisions led to the outputs."
However, Apple does explain very roughly how it identifies the facial features of the face trying to unlock the device, shining 30,000 invisible infrared dots on it in a randomised way (which will vary from device to device). The information is then turned into an encrypted mathematical formulation and then compared to the data gleaned from the owner's face, which is stored in a secure compartment of the iPhone.
It's this final part that uses Apple-developed neural networks that cannot be hacked or changed, or in fact, explained by Apple.
Facial recognition has come under quite a lot of scrutiny in the past, with people claiming it's not as secure as fingerprint recognition, for example. However, Apple launching the video so far ahead of the iPhone X's launch date will hopefully go some way to allay those worries.
25/09/2017: The iPhone 8 launched on Friday and it seems sales may be a bit lacklustre compared to previous iPhone sales on launch weekend as people wait for the iPhone X to become available later in the year.
Instead of massive queues for the latest iPhone to land, Apple Store staff were instead left a little disappointed by demand for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which were both available to pre-order from September 15th. The Metro explained the queues outside Apple stores around the country were shorter than they had been for any other device launch in recent years.
This is because the new flagship, the higher-specced iPhone X, won't come out until November, although some analysts have anticipated that may need to be pushed back because some of the parts to make the edge-to-edge display are in short supply.
Apple is yet to comment on sales of the iPhone 8 on its launch weekend and as is the case in the past, it's unlikely to reveal how many devices have shipped until much later down the line. Even then, we don't expect them to be particularly accurate.
20/09/2017: Almost half of iPhone users won't make payments using Face ID, a report by Juniper Research has revealed. The research firm explained 74% of iPhone owners would prefer to use their fingerprint to authenticate transactions, while 64% are more likely to opt for voice recognition methods.
The reason for this could be that iPhone users are more accustomed to using their fingerprint to verify their identity rather than having to look at their phone's screen. Although voice recognition isn't available natively on the iPhone for use with Apple Pay, it is supported by some third party apps.
Juniper Research questioned 500 smartphone users in the UK and the same number in the US about their attitude towards making contactless payments. Although the number of people using contactless technologies to buy things rose by 12% in the UK, 32% of non-contactless payment users are concerned about the security of technology, perhaps slowing down adoption in the future.
Only 26% of those not currently using contactless payments think they might start using Apple Pay and other contactless services such as Samsung Pay and Apple Pay in future.
"Transaction security is a key barrier for mobile financial services adoption," remarked research author James Moar. "Addressing these concerns will bring many consumers to the point where they will consider using such services."
15/09/2017: If you were hoping to share an iPhone X between family members or colleagues, it seems only one person will be able to unlock it using FaceID, which could certainly cause a family/employment rift.
A number of sources asked Apple about the technology at the launch on Wednesday and whether it will support multiple faces. However, the company explained it will only support one face when the device launches toward the end of the year.
Although this makes sense if you're using your phone for business and you need to keep information secured against unauthorised use, it could cause problems if someone else needs to access your device, obviously with your permission.
Apple's previous security feature, TouchID, supported a number of fingerprints, allowing the user to scan up to five digits to unlock the device (because you may use the phone in different positions according to what you're doing on the device), but as you only have one face, it does make sense for only one face to be recognised.
For those who wish to share access to their iPhone X with others, they can add a backup passcode and shared users can just use that instead.
14/09/2017: When Apple launched the iPhone X's Face ID feature on stage earlier this week, the facial recognition feature appeared to malfunction - but Apple says it's not so.
Executive Craig Federighi ran into some trouble when attempting to demonstrate how easily and efficiently the new Face ID works on Tuesday. While trying to unlock the phone on stage, the device refused to recognise his face, prompting him to enter the passcode.
Apple has since claimed that this glitch came from a large number of its own employees trying to use the phone backstage, which led to the phone trying to authenticate each person handling the device.
Since none of these people were Craig Federighi, the phone locked up and required a passcode for entry.
"People were handling the device for stage demo ahead of time," an Apple spokesperson told Yahoo (via the Guardian - the quote isn't currently on Yahoo's story), "and didn't realise Face ID was trying to authenticate their face.
"After failing a number of times, because they weren't Craig, the iPhone did what it was designed to do, which was to require his passcode. Face ID worked as it was designed to."
However, while Federighi successfully demoed Face ID with a backup phone, the failure might still create concern for those planning on purchasing the iPhone X, due to the likelihood of accidental lockouts this suggests.
12/09/2017: Apple has finally taken the wraps off the new iPhone X, confirming details that have been widely rumoured for months.
The biggest change is the new edge-to-edge OLED Super Retina Display. Measuring 5.8in, with a resolution of 2436 x 1125 and a pixel density of 458ppi, the display is the first OLED panel the company has ever used. As with the iPhone 8, the display features TrueTone and HDR technology.
Like the iPhone 8, it has a glass back, which allows it to also take advantage of wireless charging. The two front and rear glass panels are banded with stainless steel, and the iPhone X will be available in space grey and silver.
As the screen now takes up the entire surface area of the phone, the home button has been completely eliminated and with it, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Instead, the iPhone X is unlocked with facial recognition, which Apple is dubbing 'Face ID'. The iPhone X uses machine learning to recognise your face, and Apple claims that it will work even in the dark.
Any apps that currently work with Touch ID will work with Face ID, including Apple Pay and third-party software.
The iPhone X will also support 'animoji' - animated emojis that uses AR technology to map your face and transpose your movements to certain Emoji, creating stickers and animated voice messages Naturally, the company has also partnered with Snapchat to optimise masks and filters for the iPhone X's new AR capabilities.
The iPhone X uses the same camera technology as the iPhone 8 Plus - a dual-camera setup with a telephoto and wide-angle lens. The main improvements are the addition of dual OIS for both cameras and quad-LED True Tone flash, but the software features of the iPhone 8 are also supported, including the new portrait lighting mode, which is also available on the front-facing camera.
Hardware-wise, the iPhone X also uses the A11 Bionic chip, and promises 2 hours longer battery life than the iPhone 7.
As predicted, the iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone ever, retailing for $999. It will be available for pre-order starting October 27, available in stores on November 3.
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