iPhone 6 could arrive later than expected or be in short supply due to screen production

iPhone 5s with Zagg Glass

Apple hasn’t officially announced the iPhone 6 but it’s already delayed if such a thing is possible: Sources tell Reuters┬áthat screen suppliers are “scrambling” to provide enough displays for Apple to produce its next handset. As a result, the introduction of the iPhone 6 could take place later than expected or be in short supply once the phone is launched.

ipod touch v iphone 6

A pair of suppliers told Reuters of an issue with the display’s backlight in June and July which the organization reported on Friday. That challenge has reportedly been overcome due to a design change: Apple is opting to keep its two-layer backlight film instead of the thinner single layer it had planned for.

This situation is likely one that Apple faces with each new iPhone, although this year could be more difficult if the company introduces a pair of new iPhone models, not a single edition, which is typical to date. Apple is widely expected to release both a 4.7- and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6. I suspect the smaller phone will be more readily available and sooner than the larger one, assuming Apple does introduce a 5.5-inch model next month.

Why is so hard to make iPhones, at least during the initial production run of a new model? Apple relies on dozens of hardware partners, some making a single important component for the iPhone. The company has to receive enough stock of every little part and have enough inventory for its production partners to actually build the iPhone: Apple contracts that activity out to China-based companies, such as Pegatron.

Put another way: There are many moving parts to the “machine” that builds iPhones: One little hiccup in the chain can, for lack of a better phrase, upset the Apple cart.

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