With only two days to go before the official launch of the iPhone 8 – the first of the company’s famed product launches to be held in the Steve Jobs Theater at the heart of the company’s futuristic new campus in Cupertino – leaks of the new iOS operating system, which surfaced Saturday, have provided some clues about the new iPhones' features.
Diligent Apple watchers who’ve taken the time to peruse the code from the leaked operating system made a surprising discovery: Instead of releasing two updates to the iPhone 7, the company is planning to unveil two versions of the iPhone 8, which will be released concurrently with a premium tenth anniversary model called the iPhone X.
Bloomberg reports that the premium X device will replace the usual Touch ID fingerprint scanner with a face unlock feature, confirming an earlier report about the feature.
App and game developer Steven Troughton-Smith discovered the names in the software and tweeted about it on Saturday.
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone X pic.twitter.com/OVLfhLxTdT
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) September 9, 2017
Where's 9? iPhone, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus... 8, 8 Plus, X
The leaked software also included details about the upcoming version of the Apple Watch, including that it will have its own cellular connection (existing models have to be tethered to an iPhone). An Aug. 4 report by Bloomberg described this feature. The code also includes a photo of the new Watch, showing a red button on the side and dots in the middle of the screen that indicate the strength of its cellular signal. The image and the leaked code indicate the device will be capable of making phone calls without an iPhone in range and that Apple will release the watch in new shades of grey and gold.
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Earlier this week, AAPL stock hit the skids after the Wall Street Journal reports the new iPhone is said to have seen "production glitches."
“Apple Inc.’s new iPhone, which is expected to be unveiled Tuesday, was plagued by production glitches early in the manufacturing process this summer, according to people familiar with the situation, which could result in extended supply shortfalls and shipping delays when customers start ordering the device later this month. New iPhones are typically in short supply when first released. But if shortfalls of the new phone extend beyond the initial sales period, which is expected to begin September 22, they could weaken analysts’ and investors’ projections for sales in the crucial holiday period.
The production glitches led to a setback of about a month in the manufacturing timetable. Foxconn Technology Group, the Apple contractor that assembles iPhones, has been ramping up production at its manufacturing complex in Zhengzhou, China. The company is paying bonuses to employees who can help bring new hires on board at its Zhengzhou plant, which Foxconn said in June employs about 250,000 people.”
Citi analyst Jim Suva had predicted as much months ago when he warned that "based on industry-wide checks, we believe the significant enhancements to the iPhone 8 OLED could experience delays as it ramps to high volume production in order to meet strong demand" and as a result slashed his September iPhone delivery estimate from 47 million to 40 million.
Meanwhile, Apple’s official forecast is for $49 billion to $52 billion in revenue for the third quarter, a range that was well above the sell side consensus of $49.12 billion, suggesting Apple is quite optimistic about its upcoming product launch.
For their part, Apple analysts believe the third and fourth quarters of this year will be two of the most crucial in the company’s history as it struggles to prove that, ten years since the launch of its most revolutionary product, it can still put up market-beating sales growth. With the company’s shares trading just below their ATH, the question on every investor’s mind will be: Can the company shift enough units quickly enough to push its shares – and by extension, the broader US benchmarks – to still further highs?