Why it matters: The iPhone 15 lineup is widely expected to land this September, but there is a small chance it will get delayed due to manufacturing issues affecting the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models. It's not unusual for new iPhones to be in short supply at launch, but supply chain insiders believe the iPhone 15 Pro Max will be particularly hard to get your hands on.
Apple may be dealing with a few production issues for the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. According to a report from The Information citing two people with "direct knowledge" of the problems, the company may face severe supply constraints in September when the iPhone 15 lineup is expected to debut.
The biggest issue is related to a design decision, as Apple wanted to significantly reduce the size of the bezel around the display on the new iPhone 15 Pro models. The idea is to have a larger display without modifying the physical size of the new devices, which is said to be largely unchanged from that of their predecessors.
To that end, the Cupertino giant decided to use a different manufacturing process known as low injection pressure overmolding (LIPO), and the first trial production runs revealed some unexpected issues with screens sourced from LG. The new manufacturing process means Apple has to fuse the display into the metal frame before further assembly of other components, which calls for more rigorous reliability testing.
During this stage of development, Foxconn usually manufactures hundreds of thousands of units to see if they can reliably mass-produce the new devices while keeping the rate of defects to a minimum. Apple has been having trouble getting LG displays to pass quality testing, so it is still iterating on the design in an effort to improve reliability.
For those of you who are planning to upgrade to one of the iPhone 15 Pro models, this means you'll have a harder time getting your hands on one close to launch. It's unlikely that Apple will delay the launch of the new iPhone lineup, so the company may try to ship fewer units in the first few weeks after the event.
Displays sourced from Samsung aren't affected by the same manufacturing issues, so there's that. The Information's report says the LG display problem is more severe in the case of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, so those interested in its smaller sibling will have an easier time purchasing one close to launch.
Another potential issue is the A17 SoC, which is reportedly made using TSMC's next-generation 3 nm process node. Yield rates are said to be hovering around the 55 percent mark, and TSMC has been slow to ramp up production for the new chips. It may also be harder for Apple to procure upgraded zoom camera sensors and larger batteries in large enough quantities to cover the projected demand. We'll have to wait and see.