If your iPhone X comes 'late,' Face ID might be to blame

The parts that makes Apple's Face ID possible are reportedly running into production problems.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read

The iPhone X is quickly becoming synonymous with Face ID, which can unlock the phone by scanning your eyes, nose and mouth. That might also be the reason you'll have to wait longer to get Apple's most premium phone.

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The 3D depth sensor is just one of the many pieces of tech that make Apple's facial recognition possible.

Screenshot by Juan Garzón/CNET

The front-facing 3D sensor that helps make Apple's Face ID stand out is allegedly facing production difficulties, according to a Nikkei Asian Review report. This one part may be slowing down the rate that factories can make the new iPhone, which could limit the number of iPhone Xs that Apple can make, or even delay the first round of orders.

Although Apple announced the iPhone X at the same time as the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the X won't go on sale until Nov. 3 -- over a month and a half after the 8's Sept. 22 release. Apple didn't say whether this because it wanted to stagger the sale of the iPhone models or because the iPhone X is taking longer to make, but plenty of reports have claimed the latter.

Watch this: Apple explains Face ID on iPhone X

Nikkei Asian Review reports that two executives working for iPhone suppliers said manufacturers are struggling to make enough of the 3D sensors, which could bottleneck the production process. Moreover, the iPhone X will be churned out in small quantities -- in the tens of thousands per day -- versus hundreds of thousands per day. This resembles earlier estimates by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

This could spell bad news for anyone looking to get the iPhone X as soon as it releases. The iPhone launch madness surrounding the release of the 8 seemed tamer than previous years, which could mean that many buyers are holding out for the iPhone X. If that's the case, a high demand and limited supply could mean that lots of people won't get their hands on the X until much later than Nov. 3.

iPhone 8, 8 Plus go on sale around the world

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If you're unsure whether or not to preorder the iPhone X, some new info may help make up your mind. An iPhone X listing was spotted on TENAA, China's telecom regulatory agency. The listing reveals some of the phone's specs, such as a 2,716 mAh battery and 3GB of RAM. 

This info may be useful because Apple doesn't usually volunteer exact numbers on its iPhone specs pages. For example, instead of measuring the battery capacity in milliamp hours (mAh), it claims, "Lasts up to 2 hours longer than iPhone 7."

If you're still deciding which iPhone is right for you, CNET has your back. But if you do settle on the more premium iPhone X as your next phone, you may want to prepare to wait.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.