“Based on our analysis, survey work, and pent up demand we believe preorder demand could top 40 million units of iPhone X roughly 'doubling' current supply,” Ives said in a note this week to investors.
The potential for a longer wait, analysts say, is due to how complicated the iPhone X is to make. Between the new type of screen and the new facial-recognition sensors, Apple is having to deal with a different set of components than usual.
The imbalance between supply and demand is expected to be pretty large: Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities predicts that Apple will have 2 million or 3 million phones ready when they hit stores on Nov. 3.
In its holiday quarter in 2016, Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones — keep in mind that there was no iPhone X-like phone last year and that the iPhone 7 was considered a modest seller, because of incremental upgrades.
Demand for the iPhone X is thanks to its advanced facial recognition, a new type of screen and a new depth-sensing camera. The phone will also be able to use the facial-recognition technology for payments. Other features include wireless charging, which is also available on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and the addition of “Portrait Mode” to the front-facing camera. (That means better selfies, of course.)
The anticipation for the iPhone X, which will start at $999, has softened sales of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as customers wait to compare the models, a trend that analysts started noting after those phones launched last month. A September-October survey from 451 Research found that 69 percent of consumers were interested in buying an iPhone in the next 90 days — the highest number the firm has recorded since Apple redesigned the iPhone 6 in 2014, to have a larger screen.
The iPhone X opens for preorder on Friday online at 3:01 a.m. Eastern time and will be on sale in stores a week later. If you want to land an iPhone X in time for the holidays, then it's best to try to get in on the first rush of orders. In other words, plan your shopping a bit earlier than you would in other years — at least, if you want to avoid wrapping up an IOU instead of an iPhone X.