iPhone 8: Apple could be forced to delay new handset, analysts warn

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The . But you might not actually be able to buy it.

, but analysts are already predicting that the top version of the phone won’t actually be available for months after that.

That could prove damaging for Apple, which has built its business on bringing out phones on a guaranteed timetable – and having guaranteed millions of people coming to buy them.

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Issues with making enough of the new handset are leading to concern that it could be delayed by as much as a couple of months. Apple is introducing a range of features like screens and chips that must be made in new ways and by new manufacturers, which could slow down the process of making them and limit supply.

Even once the phone arrives, likely much closer to the Christmas period than normal, supply will probably be constrained. The phone will also be far more expensive than any model before it, according to multiple rumours.

Royal Bank of Canada analysts, for instance, suggest that the phone might not arrive until October and it won’t be available in big numbers until November or December. But it said that people would probably still want to buy iPhones and see the new handset as a worthwhile upgrade.

Apple is due to report its earnings this week and is likely to make some reference to any possible delay. Last time around, Apple boss Tim Cook said that it had missed targets in part because people were waiting for the new tenth-anniversary phone rather than buying the current models.

If the phone is delayed beyond September then that will probably continue into the next quarter, meaning that it could once again hit Apple’s profits. It could also mean that fewer people buy iPhones in the long term, if people opt to switch to rivals like Samsung instead of waiting.

. But the main event – the iPhone 8, or Pro, or whatever Apple settles on for the name – might not actually be released until closer to Christmas, rumours suggest.

. For that high price, customers will get a range of futuristic new features, including a screen that goes all the way across the front of the phone and a special depth-sensing camera system made specifically for augmented reality.

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