Marquee device sells out around the world within minutes, pushing up chip and tech firms
Apple's iPhone X suppliers' shares surge on huge demand
Apple’s biggest suppliers from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing to Hon Hai Precision Industry climbed on Monday after delivery times for the iPhone X stretched to as much as six weeks in the US, underscoring demand for the marquee smartphone.
Shares in Hon Hai, the main assembler of Apple devices, climbed as much as 3.6 per cent in Taipei. TSMC, the US company’s biggest chip supplier, rose as much as 2.5 per cent to a record. Other suppliers from AAC Technologies in Hong Kong to Lens Technology in mainland China also advanced, tracking Apple’s own gains Friday.
Apple, which says demand for its signature gadget is “off the charts”, began taking orders for the iPhone X Friday and - within minutes - shipping times lengthened to as much as six weeks in the US. That suggested tight supply over the crucial holiday season, when retailers make the majority of their revenue. The US company was also said to have struggled to make enough of its costliest device, in part because of quality issues with the sensors that make Face ID possible.
The pre-orders situation is “easing concerns that demand for the iPhone X might not meet expectations”, Bloomberg Intelligence said in a report released over the weekend. “Telecom carrier reports of relatively weak demand for the iPhone 8 stoked these fears.”
Around the world, Apple fans posted images and comments online Friday about how they were planning to get their hands on one of the US$999 (or more) phones. In Hong Kong, the phone appeared to sell out less than half an hour after ordering began in the mid-afternoon, with the online store there showing the phone “currently unavailable”. It was a similar story across Asia.
In the UK, the device sold out within minutes. By mid-morning, customers were being told they would have to wait four to six weeks before the phone became available. And if New Yorkers didn’t stay up all night, they were likely out of luck. By early morning on the east coast, Apple’s website was already registering a wait of as much as six weeks.
Waiting several weeks for major new Apple devices has become common. Shipping times for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, launched in 2014 and the previous end-to-end iPhone overhaul, extended to as much as four weeks in the hours after becoming available to pre-order. Apple typically takes a few weeks or months to reach a balance of supply and demand for major new iPhone launches.
The iPhone X has a crisper OLED screen with slimmer bezels, matching recent designs from Samsung Electronics, in addition to a unique facial recognition scanner that lets the user unlock the phone rather than using a fingerprint. Apple struggled to manufacture aspects of the new features, and the iPhone X’s November 3 debut will be about six weeks after the arrival of the iPhone 8, which is a less sophisticated device.
“The Apple supply chain was strong this morning as the iPhone X sales are good,” said Allan Lin, an assistant vice president at Concord Securities Corp.