Anyone who wants to get an iPhone X when Apple starts selling the device next week will have to brave the lines in person: Pre-orders for the device sold out minutes after the company made them available on its website Thursday night. Since then, Apple’s website has been showing delivery times of five to six weeks.
“Customer demand is off the charts,” Apple said in a statement to media, adding that it was working hard to fulfill demand for the product. The company also told consumers who are looking to buy the product in person when it reaches Apple and carrier stores on November 3 to “arrive early.”
Apple first announced the iPhone X in September when it also unveiled its new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Demand for those two models has reportedly been lower than in previous years, with carriers reporting that fewer than expected consumers had been making use of upgrade offers in the third quarter. This could mean that many consumers are holding out for the iPhone X — but how many of them are actually going to be able to buy one any time soon is anyone’s guess.
Multiple media outlets have reported this week that Apple will be able to ship fewer iPhone X units than it was aiming for this year due to supply issues for some of the components used in the phone. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple would only be able to ship 25 million to 30 million units this year, as opposed to the 40 million previously forecast, according to Bloomberg. And Japan’s Nikkei reported that Apple may only be able to ship 20 million units.
One of the issues Apple contract manufacturers seem to be struggling with is the device’s Face ID technology, which is taking the place of the fingerprint reader on the iPhone X. Face ID allows users to unlock their phone, and authenticate payments, just by looking at it, thanks to biometric technology and an advanced 3-D infrared camera.
Bloomberg reported this week that Apple had relaxed the internal requirements for Face ID, potentially reducing the accuracy of the technology. Apple categorically denied the report, telling reporters that “quality and accuracy of Face ID haven’t changed.”
What impact all of this has on the number of devices Apple has been able to put up for pre-order is currently unknown. The company used to release first-weekend pre-order numbers for the iPhone, but stopped doing so two years ago.