Apple encourages iPhone X shoppers to arrive early next week amid reports of inventory shortfalls

Apple, iPhone X, facial recognition, security, Juniper market research
Apple's iPhone X will hit retail shelves next week.

Apple said early adopters looking to pick up an iPhone X when the phone goes on sale next week should show up at stores early.

Because there may not be enough to go around.

“iPhone X will be available in more than 55 countries and territories, and in Apple Stores beginning Friday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m. local time,” the company said in a press release. “Stores will have iPhone X available for walk-in customers, who are encouraged to arrive early.”

That announcement came amid reports that component shortages will significantly limit shipments of Apple’s highly anticipated flagship phone through the rest of the year—if not longer. Nikkei Asian Review reported this morning that initial shipments of the model will be in the range of 20 million units, roughly half of the anticipated number, due to defects stemming from the bonding process for OLED panels.

Those headaches have been “largely resolved,” the news outlet reported, but problems continued during assembly of the facial-recognition feature. Apple is reportedly in talks with other manufacturers to accelerate production of some components, “and there is a chance that output volumes could improve rapidly.”

Apple introduced the iPhone X last month, unveiling a high-end device that features wireless charging, an OLED screen and a facial recognition system. The phone eschews the traditional iPhone home button for an edge-to-edge screen that requires users to swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead of pressing a button to access the device’s main screen.

The iPhone X will hit retail shelves during a particularly competitive market for high-end smartphones, though: Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8 is receiving rave reviews; Google recently introduced the second generation of its flagship Pixel phone, and Essential just slashed the price of its debut phone by $200.

Apple remains a massive force in the U.S. smartphone market, of course, and IHS Market said recently that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were the two top-selling smartphones worldwide in the first half of 2017. But the holiday season is crucial for smartphone vendors, obviously, and Apple could miss a major opportunity if component shortages and manufacturing problems lead to inventory shortcomings.

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