Will the iPhone 8 launch really be later than usual?

Update: A new rumor suggests Apple could stick with a September launch for the iPhone 8, but the date is suspect and goes against most of the release date rumors we've heard so far, which point to a delay.

When will the iPhone 8 launch? That's perhaps one of the biggest questions in phone land right now. And you'd think the answer would be obvious, as Apple’s iPhone launch events have taken place on the second week of September for five years now.

Yet there are a growing number of reports suggesting Apple will push the iPhone 8 launch back this year. And to further confuse things, not everyone agrees. So when will the iPhone 8 launch? Here's what we know so far. 

iPhone launch events

iPhone 7 & 7 Plus – Sep 7, 2016
iPhone 6S & 6S Plus –Sep 9, 2015
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus –Sep 9, 2014
iPhone 5S & 5C –Sep 10, 2013
iPhone 5 –Sep 12, 2012
iPhone 4S – Oct 14, 2011
iPhone 4 – Jun 24, 2010
iPhone 3GS – Jun 19, 2009
iPhone 3G – Jul 11, 2008
iPhone – Jun 29, 2007

Touch troubles

One of the suggestions that we might see a delay comes from a research note obtained by MacRumors,  in which Andy Hargreaves, equity research analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, claims that Apple is struggling to build a fingerprint scanner into the screen, and that this could cause a delay in production.

An even worse - though far more unlikely - outcome is that Apple could ditch the fingerprint scanner altogether if it can't quickly solve these problems, leaving the iPhone 8 reliant on new 3D facial recognition security features instead.

We'd take that last bit with a huge pinch of salt, as Touch ID is a near essential component of the iPhone.

Even a delay is unlikely we'd think, but this is just the special edition of the iPhone 8 that we're talking about, so if it is delayed the less ambitious iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus might still launch on time.

More than one problem

And this isn't the only evidence of a delay. According to an earlier report from the Economic Daily News in China, Apple is having technical issues with the rumored curved OLED display on the special edition iPhone 8, with the lamination process currently far from ideal.

But given the recent news that Apple has placed a large order with Samsung for curved OLED displays – something its South Korean rival knows a thing or two about thanks to its Galaxy S6, Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 lines – it seems unlikely the process is still experiencing teething issues.

October or November

According to the report, the iPhone 8 launch date could be pushed back to October or November.

Apple has launched an iPhone in October, with the iPhone 4S stepping into the limelight on October 14, 2011, but it's been September ever since.

Pushing the launch to October or November would mean Apple misses out on the September buying cycle for many consumers who are out of contract in August and September.

Sticking with September

Yet despite all the talk of delays, there are other sources claiming that Apple will stick with September. More specifically the iPhone 8 will apparently be announced at a keynote on September 17 and go on sale on September 25.

Those dates come from prolific leaker Benjamin Geskin, but he notes that they're not 100% confirmed, and there's serious reason to doubt them, as September 17 is a Sunday, while Apple (and most manufacturers) always launch their phones on week days.

So we're not convinced. But nor are we convinced by talk of delays. At this point, we'd still say the most likely iPhone 8 release date is September 12 or 13 going on previous launch events, which typically take place on the Tuesday or Wednesday of the second week in September, with the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus likely to arrive alongside the 10th anniversary edition.