Production of iPhone X Stumbles -- WSJ
By Yoko Kubota
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (September 28, 2017).
BEIJING -- Apple Inc. hit a production snag with components crucial to its new iPhone X's facial-recognition system, people familiar with the situation said, adding to concerns about extended shortages when sales begin early in November.
The components, known as Romeo and Juliet among Apple engineers and suppliers, work together to allow users of the latest iPhone to unlock their devices by scanning their faces, the people said. It has taken more time to assemble the Romeo modules than the Juliet modules, they said, creating an imbalance in supply. That has created a bottleneck for the iPhone X's mass production, according to one person, which could crimp supplies beyond typical initial shortfalls when the phone is released Nov. 3.
Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., declined to comment.
The production problems are the latest glitch as Apple and its suppliers rush to load the flashy new features into the flagship model that carries high stakes for Apple.
New iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models went on sale last week, but the new high-end iPhone X won't be available until Nov. 3 following production troubles this summer involving its screens, which are using organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, technology, as The Wall Street Journal recently detailed.
There was also a hiccup during Apple's launch event Sept. 12, when the iPhone X failed to fully unlock the first time the company's top software executive used it before the audience. Apple later said the Face ID technology had been inadvertently disabled beforehand.
The handset, which commemorates the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, is Apple's most advanced yet and has several features that weren't on previous phones, adding to the level of difficulty in manufacturing them.