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The iPhone X may be very difficult to buy until 2018


Eager buyers should prepare for midnight preorders on October 27th.

If you’re eager to put down $1,000 or more for Apple’s new bezel-less, OLED-equipped iPhone X, you’ll probably want to be awake and ready at the company’s preorder page come October 27th. As tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo explained in a note with KGI Securities, reported today by MacRumors,  Apple’s latest smartphone, the most expensive one it’s ever made, will probably generate more demand than Apple’s supply chain can withstand, at least initially. That means long shipping wait times are a high likelihood for any number of the device’s limited configurations when preorders do go live next month.

“We believe the full screen design and facial recognition features will drive replacement demand for the iPhone X,” Kuo explains. But “due to supply constraints,” he adds, it’s unlikely demand will match supply until 2018. Kuo says he anticipates Apple will ship around 40 million iPhone X units before the end of the fiscal year, and as many as 90 million in 2018.

The note also explains that Apple’s move to push the iPhone X preorder and ship date to late October and early November respectively is likely to prevent the cannibalization of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus sales. Both of those phones, preorders of which went live early this morning, are acting effectively as iPhone 7S upgrades to last year’s standard 7 model.

It makes sense then that Apple would rather have only the diehard, committed X buyers be the ones holding out until October, ensuring that demand wouldn’t overwhelmingly outstrip supply for that device while pushing more of the on-the-fence buyers toward the models available now. Regardless, Kuo says that it’s likely the iPhone X will suffer from “severe short supply for a while,” and there’s little Apple can do that about that until it spins up a more robust supply chain for the X.