Update: Evidence for a delayed iPhone 8 launch is growing, with the latest rumors putting the blame on the under-display fingerprint scanner, and suggesting that Apple might even launch the phone without Touch ID.
Apple’s iPhone launch events are iconic. They’ve taken place on the second week of September for five years now, so reports suggesting Apple will push the iPhone 8 launch back this year seem unlikely.
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
In a research note obtained by MacRumors, 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.
At this point, we'd still say the most likely iPhone 8 release date is September 13 going on previous launch events, with the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus tipped to arrive alongside the 10th anniversary edition.