iPhone X: Is Apple Struggling with their Supply Chain?

On a regular basis, Apple continues to be a leader in supply chain. They have made the Gartner Top 25 in Supply Chain on multiple occasions, ranking #1 in the the High Tech category in 2017 and #1 Overall in 2014. But how about the present? With the launch of the most recent iPhone, the iPhone X, it doesn’t seem like Apple is in a very good position, according to specialists.

Now that a few months have passed and the hype has died down, what’s the 4-1-1 on the iPhone X now? Here are a couple reasons the latest iPhone was not as a successful as Apple hoped.


Before its official launch on November 3, 2017, it was said that only 2-3 million units were available due to delays in manufacturing. Probably one of Apple’s worst faux-pas, if you’ve gone through some inventory management best practices, you know that logistics is everything. For all large tech companies, launch dates are crucial. Especially for a product like the iPhone, which always receives a tonne of hype and media coverage prior to launch. It was reported that there had been rumors about manufacturing delays for several months before its official release, but Apple did not report anything to the public. They decided to keep going on the same timeline. Not a good look to potential investors and consumers.

It was said that the iPhone X’s TrueDepth Camera System and the choice to used OLED for its screen to be two of the reason for this bottleneck. In regards to OLED, the problem was that Samsung was already using this technology for its phone. When Apple made the switch, they did not take in account that there would be less supply available. Ultimately this caused some problems in the supply chain.

Supply and Demand

Supply and demand is one of the most fundamental concepts of business. It’s basic economics. However, this was something that Apple overlooked. Due to the manufacturing delays, supply for the launch date was low. It was reported that pre-orders outweighed supply by several million, causing a huge sale imbalance. Overall, poor planning and forecasting were the main causes of the outcomes. Especially for a company like Apple, who have previously been praised for its detailed approach to its business practices.

What Now?

It doesn’t look like the mistakes made during the launch of the iPhone X have damaged Apple too badly. Sales proved to be OK. Despite being the top selling smartphone at the beginning of 2018, that declined fairly quick. It is also rumored that they plan on cutting production of the current model soon.

As 2018 goes by, Apple will be working on the next iPhone models. Rumors about specs and pricing are circulating in anticipation for the next releases. Will it be cheaper? Faster? Everything consumers want in a smartphone and more? For now, we can only wait. Hopefully Apple has learned from the mistakes made with the iPhone X, because they really can’t afford to do it again.

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