Will the iPhone 8 launch really be later than usual?

Update: There's growing evidence that despite reports of production delays the actual launch of the iPhone 8 won't be any later than usual. Look out for it in September.

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 more 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.

Production delays don't mean launch delays

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Yet despite all the talk of delays, there are other sources claiming that Apple will stick to its usual schedule.

Rod Hall, an analyst at JP Morgan, has said that while he believes the delays are real, they won't have much of an affect on when the iPhone 8 is launched, and instead could simply mean that there will be fewer units available on day one.

Leaker Benjamin Geskin shares this sentiment, saying that mass production for all three new iPhone handsets has begun, and that the iPhone 8 won't be delayed.

Sticking with September

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More specifically, the iPhone 8 will apparently be announced at a keynote on September 17 and go on sale on September 25.

Those dates also 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.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.