Apple’s Supply Chain Problems for iPhone X Started Occurring the Moment it Switched to OLED Tech


If you were a part of Apple’s supply chain, chances are that your revenue stream would see vast growth due to the high global demand of iPhones. Unfortunately, with the delay of the iPhone X right down to reducing the iPhone 8’s production by 50 percent, it looks like Apple has been dealing with a ton of issues from its supply chain partners. A columnist believes that the day the tech giant decided to switch to OLED technology plus other technologies for the iPhone X is the reason why this supply chain conundrum exists right now.

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According to Tim Culpan, technology columnist at Bloomberg, Apple is one such company that understands the supply chain intricately. The manufacturer’s employees work closely with component makers in deciding the capacity, quality, and capability of these components to see if they are worth being incorporated in mobile phones. Unfortunately, the decision to switch to OLED for iPhone X has made things quite dicey for the Cupertino tech giant.

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“So when Cupertino decided to go with OLED, it must have known that supply would be tight and the company would be relying on nemesis Samsung. Perhaps Cook and Williams were OK with this and figured Samsung would ramp up fast enough to ensure OLEDs for all, or maybe they thought alternative suppliers would come on stream. Clearly they were wrong. Apple does mess up from time to time, scratchgate being a good example, but this mistake was huge.”

Switching to OLED technology and a new smartphone design brought about its own string of problems and that happened to be finding a solution to allow users to unlock their phones using a fingerprint reader from the front. Unfortunately, this technology was not properly developed, leaving Apple to ditch Touch ID and switch to Face ID. It is possible that Touch ID will make a return in future smartphones, but it looks like the company may have misjudged what happened behind the scenes.

“In proceeding with OLED, the company was faced with a new challenge: making fingerprint sensors work through an OLED screen. It failed and Apple had to dump the idea, instead turning to facial recognition. This was already likely to be a feature, but with Touch ID now gone, Face ID was front and center (Apple couldn't well go back to humdrum passwords). That means reliance on Romeo and Juliet, the two-part sensor module crucial to making it work. But again, Apple misjudged the supply chain and was left with bottlenecks, as the Wall Street Journal outlined last month.”

Culpan does state that this is a temporary setback and that Apple will be back to its former glories once more but these problems reveal that the company is vulnerable to supply chain issues and should be prepared for the worst in the future.

News Source: Bloomberg