Apple to test 2018 iPhone pipeline after last year’s TrueDepth snafu

The TrueDepth camera was said to be one of the anchors tying down the iPhone X’s production pace. It’s used to track faces and authenticate them or map their features for things like Face ID and Animoji. And it’s not just one component, but several: a “structured-light system, time-of-flight system and a front-facing camera” and a few others in hardware and software. As they’re quite finicky to make and assemble, yield rates were challenging for quite a long time.

With Apple supposedly having a monopoly on the supply chain for that specific part, the company needs to make sure that it absolutely can produce TrueDepth cameras efficiently and quickly, especially if the predictions that those cameras will appear on all new iPhones this year.

Digitimes is now reporting from sources that Apple has planned trial production in the second quarter of all three iPhone models set to come out in September. The hope is that the entire parts and assembly chain for a 6.1-inch LCD model and 5.9- and 6.5-inch OLED models can be prepared to start delivering units by the third quarter.

The sources say that Apple is hoping that an early production start will be able to bring all three models into a simultaneous release instead of a staggered release that placed the iPhone X a month and a half behind the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. While they don’t explicitly tie TrueDepth camera production issues to any reasoning for the trials — large tech companies do order test runs for their products at their contracted plants on a routine basis — it’s the issue freshest in mind for any stumbling blocks going forward.

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Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.