Apple’s highly anticipated top-of-the-line iPhone X boasts a near edge-to-edge screen, the elimination of the home button and a new facial recognition system designed to help you sign in with just a glance. However, the components required to enable those ID features are in short supply, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.
The components, which are known internally as Romeo and Juliet amongst Apple engineers, thanks to their vital relationship, allow users of the X to log in using their face, create custom emoji and more. However, it’s taken more time to assemble the Romeo module than the Juliet modules, creating a supply imbalance and a bottleneck in production which could limit supplies of the phone beyond the typically early shortfalls new tech products witness.
Though the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus went on sale recently, the iPhone X won’t release until he 3rd of November, following supply issues with the new OLED screens. Now, with the added pressure on supplies of the facial recognition technology, it could be that Apple see significant issues launching their new flagship product.
Designed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, the X is the pinnacle of modern phone technology, though not exceptionally pioneering in the space. It’s also prohibitively expensive, costing well over one thousand pounds for the higher storage models.
Issues were also spotted during the launch of the device, when a test model on stage was unable to unlock the phone for the company’s top software engineer, forcing the on-stage demo to move to a backup model. Since then, Apple offered multiple explanations for the failure, including the phone being confused by the crowd and stating that the phone had Face ID switched off.
Nevertheless, customers are eagerly awaiting the release of the new device and its flagship feature, which is enabled by the Romeo module, which utilises a dot projector that uses a laser to beam 30,000 infrared dots across the user’s face, mapping its unique characteristics. The Juliet module includes the infrared camera that reads that pattern, enabling the feature.
Apple still plan to release the phone simultaneously in 55 countries on the 3rd of November, indicating a high level of confidence in their ability to manufacture the devices, but if supply remains short it could see reduced demand as high value customers move to alternative devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8, or the new Essential Phone.
Customers are already hitting the Apple contact details hard for information on how widely available the iPhone X will be, but Apple are remaining mum on availability, only saying that it could be “limited” at launch.