If you want an iPhone X for the holidays, start planning now

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, introduces the iPhone X during a launch event in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

If you’re planning on getting an iPhone X in time for the holidays, you may have a harder time getting your hands on one than usual, according to analysts.

Several Apple analysts have said that the number of people who want an iPhone X will far outstrip the number of phones available at launch – and even well into 2018. Daniel Ives of GBH Insights said this week that he thinks it could be April or even May before the balance between supply and demand settles and people simply will be able to walk into a store and buy one.

“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 it hits stores on Nov. 3. He, too, expects Apple to produce 20 million globally to sell through the end of the year and predicts 40 million people will want an iPhone X.

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 in Apple stores that day. 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.



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