How to Downgrade iOS 11 to iOS 10.3.3 on iPhone and iPad

How to downgrade iOS 11 to iOS 10

Don’t like iOS 11 on your iPhone or iPad? You can downgrade to iOS 10.3.3 if you act quickly. Maybe you don’t like the update, maybe you find iOS 11 battery life to be poor, or app compatibility to be a problem, or perhaps you think the performance is subpar. Whatever the reason, you can easily downgrade iOS 11 if you need to, but the ability to downgrade is only available for a limited time while Apple continues to sign the prior operating system release of iOS 10.3.3.

We’ll walk through how you can downgrade iOS 11 back to iOS 10 on an iPhone or iPad.

This guide requires iTunes and a computer, internet access, an iOS 10.3.3 ISPW file, and a USB cable. There is no way to downgrade iOS 11 without iTunes and a computer.

Important note: downgrading iOS 11 to iOS 10.3.3 can cause data loss, including the removal of important data or everything on your iPhone or iPad. Thus it is critical to have a backup that is compatible with iOS 10 available before downgrading (one should have been made prior to updating to iOS 11 in the first place), this is because iOS 11 backups are not compatible with iOS 10 or other prior releases. If you only have a backup for iOS 11, then downgrading to iOS 10 may require you to update again to iOS 11 in order to restore from that iOS 11 backup. If you don’t know what you are doing and do not have adequate backups, do not attempt to downgrade or you may experience permanent data loss on the iPhone or iPad.

We’ll cover two ways to downgrade, a simple way that should work for most users, and an approach that requires Recovery Mode if the first downgrade method fails.

How to Downgrade iOS 11 to iOS 10.3.3 the Easy Way

Be sure you have recent backups available of your iOS device to avoid potential data loss. An iOS 11 backup is only able to be restored to an iOS 11 device, thus you would need an iOS 10 backup to restore to iOS 10. Failing to have a compatible backup can lead to permanent data loss.

  1. Go here and download the iOS 10.3.3 IPSW file for the iPhone or iPad you wish to downgrade and save that .ipsw file somewhere easy to locate like the desktop
  2. Downgrading from iOS 11 to iOS 10 requires an IPSW file

  3. Open the iTunes app on a Mac or Windows PC
  4. iTunes

  5. Using a USB cable, connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch you wish to downgrade to the computer
  6. iPhone USB charging cable

  7. Select the device in iTunes by clicking on the little device icon in the upper left corner of iTunes
  8. Select iOS device in iTunes

  9. Now under the device summary section of iTunes, click the ‘Update’ button using the appropriate modifier key to begin the downgrade process:
  • Mac OS: OPTION + click the “Update” button
  • Windows PC: SHIFT + click the “Update” button

Downgrade iOS 11 via iTunes

  • Select the iOS 10.3.3 .ipsw file you downloaded in the first step, and choose to update to that version
  • The iPhone or iPad screen will turn black as the downgrade begins, rebooting multiple times with a progress bar and Apple logo as the downgrade completes
  • When the downgrade has finished the device will boot back up into iOS 10, the process can take a while if the device has a large amount of used storage
  • The downgrade from iOS 11 to iOS 10.3.3 should go without a hitch, assuming you chose the proper iOS 10.3.3 IPSW file for your device, and assuming Apple is still signing the system software. Once Apple stops signing iOS 10.3.3 then downgrading to it from iOS 11 will be impossible.

    Some users have reported that sometimes data in iBooks, Notes, Music, and Messages may go missing with the “update” downgrade approach outlined above. If that happens to you, simply restore the device from an iOS 10.3.3 compatible backup once the device is back on iOS 10.3.3.

    Note that if you choose “Restore” in the above process and then select IPSW, then the device will be either restored from a backup made compatible with iOS 10.3.3 or setup as new like a standard restore process, which can then be restored with a compatible backup.

    If for some reason the above downgrade method fails, you can use the Recovery Mode approach to downgrading iOS 11 detailed next.

    How to Downgrade from iOS 11 with Recovery Mode on iPhone and iPad

    Rarely, the above downgrade process will fail or get stuck on an  Apple logo, or stuck on a black screen. If this happens, you can start the downgrade over again while the iPhone or iPad is in Recovery Mode or DFU mode*

    1. Launch iTunes on the computer
    2. Download the appropriate iOS 10.3.3 IPSW file for your device that you want to downgrade
    3. Put the iPhone or iPad into Recovery Mode using the instructions appropriate for your device:
    • For iPad, iPhone 6s and earlier with a clickable Home button, and iPod touch: Press and hold both the Power button and Home button at the same time. Continue holding the buttons down until you see a recovery mode iTunes connect screen (this happens after you see the Apple logo, just keep holding the buttons)
    • For iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Press down and hold the Power button and Volume Down button concurrently and continue holding until you see the recovery mode screen, this happens after you see the Apple logo so continue holding the buttons until you see the recovery mode indicator of the iTunes logo
  • With the iPhone or iPad in Recovery Mode, connect the device to a computer with iTunes
  • For Mac, OPTION click on “Restore” and for Windows SHIFT click on “Restore” and select the iOS 10.3.3 IPSW file you downloaded in the second step
  • Restore the device to iOS 10.3.3, when the restore is complete choose to setup as new or restore a backup that is compatible with iOS 10.3.3 (note that iOS 11 backups are not compatible with prior iOS releases)
  • * You can learn how to put iPhone 7 into DFU mode here and how to put other iPhone and iPad models into DFU mode here. It’s unusual to need DFU mode to downgrade unless something has gone wrong and the device has become totally unresponsive.

    Help, My iOS 11 Backup Won’t Work on iOS 10!

    If you only have a backup from iOS 11, then it will not work with an iOS 10.3.3 device that has been downgraded. Instead, you will need to download the iOS 11 update or update the device to iOS 11 through Setting app, and then restore the iOS 11 backup to the device after it has been updated to a compatible version of system software. There is no way to make an iOS 11 backup compatible with an iOS 10.3.3 device as the iOS backups are not backwards compatible.

    What’s your experience with downgrading iOS 11? Why did you downgrade and how did it go? Share your experience in the comments below!

    iPhone X production may face further delay, analyst warns

    apple-091217-iphone-x-3986-1

    The iPhone X faces supply issues that may delay production, a chip analyst warns.


    James Martin/CNET

    You may have to wait a bit longer to get your hands on Apple’s new iPhone X.

    Production of Apple’s newest flagship handset likely hasn’t even begun, even though Apple will begin taking orders for the device in just over a month, according to an investor’s note from Raymond James chip analyst Christopher Caso. The iPhone X, which Caso notes already faced production challenges, may face further delays, Caso wrote in his note, published by Barron’s.

    Interestingly, while the industry widely anticipated a shift in iPhone ramp timing, our checks suggest there was an incremental delay in the build plans — with orders firmed up as recently as last week — shifting production more into the December quarter. While our checks are ongoing, initial feedback from our meetings suggests that final production of iPhone X has not yet begun, with production expected to commence in mid-October. That production start is about a month later when compared to expectations a month ago, and about 2 months later than expectations at the end of June.

    Notably, this is consistent with commentary from Diodes last week suggesting the timing had changed since reporting June quarter results and is important as it relates to tone and expectations for the December quarter.

    Apple unveiled the new $1,000 iPhone X last week, along with a pair of less expensive companions, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. iPhone X features a 5.8-inch screen with ultraslim bezels, an OLED screen, and Face ID, Apple’s new biometric method for unlocking devices.

    Despite its steep price tag, demand for the new handset is expected to be intense and it’s already rumored to be in extremely short supply when it does finally arrive. The reason is reportedly production delays early in the process related to the OLED screen. Apparently, OLED manufacturers can’t churn them out fast enough to meet demand for smartphones, TVs, watches and other gadgets.

    iPhone X preorders kick off Oct. 27, but it won’t officially be available until Nov. 3.

    Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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    iPhone X Production Faces Further Delays, Will Start in Mid-October

    Final production on the iPhone X has yet to start, even though Apple will begin taking orders for the device in just over a month. Raymond James chip analyst Christopher Caso conducted supply chain checks this morning and then shared what he learned about Apple’s production schedule in an investor’s note obtained by Barron’s.

    According to Caso, while there were already production delays affecting the iPhone X, further delays have occurred recently. He says production is set to start in mid-October, later than earlier predictions. With additional delays, full production ramp up will be delayed into the December quarter.

    Interestingly, while the industry widely anticipated a shift in iPhone ramp timing, our checks suggest there was an incremental delay in the build plans – with orders firmed up as recently as last week – shifting production more into the December quarter.

    While our checks are ongoing, initial feedback from our meetings suggests that final production of iPhone X has not yet begun, with production expected to commence in mid-October. That production start is about a month later when compared to expectations a month ago, and about 2 months later than expectations at the end of June. Notably, this is consistent with commentary from Diodes last week suggesting the timing had changed since reporting June quarter results and is important as it relates to tone and expectations for the December quarter.

    We’ve already known the iPhone X is going to be severely constrained, but hints of further delays suggest supplies could be more restricted than originally thought.

    With the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus seemingly not garnering as much interest from customers as previous smartphones launched in fall, it seems there could be quite a lot of Apple fans who are holding out for the iPhone X.

    It could be months before Apple has adequate supply to meet demand for the $999 device. Reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, for example, has said it could take well into 2018 for Apple to fill all orders.

    The iPhone X will be available for pre-order on October 27, with the device to officially launch on November 3. Pre-orders will undoubtedly sell out rapidly so all but the luckiest customers may need to wait for several weeks to get their hands on one of the new flagship devices.

    The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, launching this Friday, should be readily available at retail stores around the world.

    Craig Federighi: Apple Has Considered Nightstand Mode for iPhone X

    Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi has revealed that Apple has considered a Nightstand mode for iPhone X.


    “This is definitely something we’ve considered,” said Federighi, in response to an email from MacRumors reader Zain, who asked whether it would be possible for a Nightstand mode on the iPhone X. “This probably makes the most sense for customers who charge their phone in a dock that tilts up the phone.”

    However, Federighi noted that it’s “not currently super common” for people to charge their iPhones that way.

    Nightstand mode is an Apple Watch feature that allows the watch to be used as a nightstand clock and an alarm clock while it is laying on its side and charging. The watch displays the time in large text, along with the date, the battery’s remaining charge, and an upcoming alarm if one is set.

    When the Apple Watch is in Nightstand mode and isn’t being used, the display turns off. To see the display again, users tap it, press the Digital Crown or the side button, or lightly nudge the Apple Watch. Sometimes, even nudging or tapping the nightstand or other surface the watch is sitting on works.

    Since the iPhone X can’t be positioned on its side by itself, it could be placed on a wireless charging pad with an angled stand, like this one from RAVPower. Coupled with new tap to wake functionality for the display, the idea of a Nightstand mode for iPhone X could make sense.

    Apple could add Nightstand mode to iPhone X in a future update to iOS 11, but it’s possible they’ve already dismissed the idea.

    Federighi has been replying to several customer emails over the past week following Apple’s iPhone X event at Steve Jobs Theater. MacRumors obtained full headers of this latest email, which can be traced back to Apple’s headquarters.

    Apple iPhone X, iPhone 8 lack a key feature of the Galaxy S8

    Apple presents the iPhone X as the “smartphone of the future.”

    But at least in one key area, its new phones fall short of Android phones that have already been out for months.

    apple-091217-iphone-x-4120

    The iPhone X has new tech like facial recognition, but not when it comes to cellular radios. 


    James Martin/CNET

    The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X lack the ability to tap into a superfast wireless network technology called Gigabit LTE, confirming a CNET report from earlier this year. Meanwhile, there are 10 Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, LG V30 and HTC U11, that boast the ability to reach a theoretical peak speed of 1 gigabit per second. That’s the highest speed offered by internet service providers, fast enough for you to download a two-hour movie in 15 seconds.

    Apple confirmed that the new iPhones will be able to tap into LTE Advanced networks, which have a theoretical peak speed of 500 megabits per second. That’s fast, but not nearly as fast as what their Android competitors can hit.

    The lack of Gigabit LTE on the new iPhones is noteworthy because the carriers are starting to trumpet the technology as a big advance that offers more speed and capacity — even if it’s not yet broadly available. When more of these advanced networks go online throughout the next year, you’ll start to see Android phones blow past iPhones when it comes to their cellular connections.

    But Apple has never been at the cutting edge of networking tech, and these latest iPhones highlight the fact that the company prefers to wait for things to fully bake before embracing them.

    “Apple’s not at the forefront of adopting network technology,” said Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies. “They’re rarely the first ones to do it.”


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    Few members of the wireless industry that CNET spoke to were surprised by the move, given Apple’s track record. The company, after all, was late to the game with both 3G and LTE network technologies.

    The latest iPhones do pack 27 LTE bands into a single model, making them usable virtually everywhere that LTE is available. It’s the need to reach so many people that likely has the company staying conservative.

    “Apple needs to play a global game,” Bajarin said.

    Apple declined to comment for this story.

    Not just a turbo boost

    Even if you don’t actually hit 1 gigabit per second, a Gigabit LTE network is a heck of a lot faster than anything you’re getting now. A test by Australian carrier Telstra saw real-world speeds of 100 megabits to 300 megabits per second, or about 30 times what your standard LTE signal looks like.

    But there are myriad other benefits. Beyond the higher speeds, the carriers will be able handle more people on their networks — an increasing number of whom are on unlimited data plans gorging on streaming movies and video games.

    Gigabit LTE is still in the early stages of getting rolled out even in the US, let alone the rest of the world. T-Mobile is the furthest ahead and boasts 300 cities with some level of Gigabit LTE.

    AT&T calls its form of Gigabit LTE “5G evolution,” which is available in a rudimentary form in Austin and Indianapolis. But the company said a new iPhone and a Galaxy S8 would likely perform at the same speeds in those cities until further upgrades happen. The company plans to light up “5G evolution” upgrades in 20 more cities over the next few months.

    Verizon and Sprint have held trials for Gigabit LTE.

    The limited deployment of the technology means people aren’t going to care about it when purchasing their new iPhones.

    But they may in a year or two. 

    Better over time

    Here’s the beauty of Gigabit LTE: As more networks get upgraded, your phone gets faster over time. So a Galaxy S8 or LG V30 may get decent speeds now, high speeds in a few months and crazy-fast speeds in a year or two, depending on where you live and how aggressive your carriers are with new network equipment.


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    That’s a particular issue for the iPhone X, which Apple pitches as the model with loads of future tech, according to Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights. Given the dramatic price increase, he expects people to hang onto their phones longer, which means they’ll miss out on these speed boosts for a while.

    “It’s a big miss,” he said.

    apple-091217-iphone-8-iphone-8-plus4133

    The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus don’t have Gigabit LTE tech either. 


    James Martin/CNET

    Moorhead said he sees the carriers and phone makers getting more vocal about Gigabit LTE by the end of this year, with broader deployments next year.

    Still, network technology is the stuff of geeks and tech enthusiasts, so some people may not care about how much faster the network gets as long as their episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale” stream just fine.

    “It’s a nice to have,” Bajarin said. “But it won’t move the needle.”

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    iPhone 8 has a low carbon footprint, says Apple VP

    lisajackson.jpg

    Lisa Jackson, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is now Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives.


    Apple

    Apple has been working to give its iPhones, iPads and MacBooks an environmentally friendly makeover. And Lisa Jackson, the company’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said this mindset comes straight from the top — CEO Tim Cook.

    “That is Tim,” said Jackson, speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. “For a long time we thought Apple spoke through our products and that was enough. But we realized it’s our responsibility.”

    Jackson, the former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, is heading Apple’s initiatives to use renewable sources of energy and double down on recycling. She said these initiatives are now commonplace when conceiving new products, like the iPhone 8.

    “If we care about something it does show up in our products,” Jackson said. For instance, with the new iPhone “there’s a little line on there that says ‘low carbon process.'”

    What this means is the aluminum Apple uses in the iPhone 8 is low-carbon aluminum. “It really cuts our carbon footprint for the new phone,” Jackson said.

    Apple released its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report last spring, in which it detailed its initiatives to reduce its impact on climate change. The company said it now powers 96 percent of its operations around the world with 100 percent renewable energy, like solar, hydro and wind power. It’s also using 100 percent recycled paper in its packaging. But the company acknowledges more can be done.

    Apple still mines for materials, like aluminum and tin, to build its electronics. Jackson said it’s now taking steps to end its reliance on mining and move toward a closed-loop supply chain in which it’ll build new products with more recycled materials.

    “There’s 100-plus elements in an iPhone,” Jackson said. But now, “the solder that we use in iPhone 6 all comes from recycled tin.”

    Correction, 3:28 p.m. PT: The new iPhone with a low carbon process is the iPhone 8. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said it was the iPhone X.

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    Apple iPhone X Has a ‘Value Price,” Tim Cook Says

    Apple CEO Tim Cook says his company’s $999 iPhone X is available at a great price considering what buyers get for their money.

    On Good Morning America on Tuesday, Cook said that the recently announced iPhone X has a “value price” based on all the technology that comes with the device. He also said that the option to pay for the iPhone X over time through carrier-offered installment plans makes the iPhone X even more affordable.

    “Most people are now paying for phones over long periods of time,” Cook said. “And so very few people will pay the price tag of the phone initially. Also most people actually trade in their current phone, and so that reduces the price further, and some carriers even throw in subsidies and discounts.”

    Apple’s iPhone X, announced last week, will be available in Nov. 3. It comes with a 5.8-inch screen that nearly covers its face and no physical home button. A new facial-recognition feature called Face ID can verify the users’ identities and their purchases via Apple Pay. The device is also compatible with wireless charging, eliminating the need to plug the phone in to charge its battery.

    In addition to the base $999 iPhone X, Apple is selling a 256GB version for $1,149. That makes the iPhone X the most expensive smartphone Apple has ever sold.

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    The iPhone X’s lofty price hasn’t gone unnoticed, and some critics have said it’s too expensive. Apple, however, has argued that the iPhone X the “future” of smartphones.

    Apple, along with all four major mobile carriers—Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile—all offer trade-in programs that let iPhone X buyers get credits on their purchase by turning in old smartphones. Apple’s retail partners, like Best Buy and Walmart, offer similar options.

    And by offering installment plans, Apple and its carrier partners can help customers spread the cost of an expensive iPhone over on or two years. But even installment plan aren’t cheap, with monthly payments starting at nearly $50 through Apple.

    Apple, meanwhile, is said to be making a healthy profit off the sale of each iPhone X, excluding costs like assembly and shipping.

    On Monday, market researcher Susquehanna International Group said the iPhone X’s components cost Apple $581. If correct, that suggests Apple will make a $418 profit on every iPhone X sold, excluding those extra costs.

    So, whether the iPhone X is really a “value” is relative. And there are undoubtedly many people both in the U.S. and around the globe who may not share Cook’s thoughts about value.

    Apple iPhone 8 Preorders Fall Short as Buyers Await iPhone X

    Apple may have flubbed its forecast for iPhone demand, at least in the U.S. market, according to people who work in the wireless market. Demand for preorders of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus that started on Friday have been disappointing, the people said, as more customers may be holding out for Apple’s premium iPhone X model.

    “We’ve never been in this situation before, where Apple has announced two devices coming out within six weeks of each other,” an official at one carrier said.

    Apple did not return a request for comment. The major carriers—AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile—weren’t saying much about iPhone 8 preorders, either. “It’s clear customers are super excited about Apple’s new products and so are we,” a spokeswoman for T-Mobile said. “We’re looking forward to yet another successful launch with Apple.” AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint declined to comment.

    Related

    Apple unveiled the iPhone 8 and X at a press event on its new Apple Park campus last week and preorders for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus began on Friday. These new iPhones look much like Apple’s models from the past three years, though with faster processors, better cameras, and a glass back instead of aluminum to support inductive charging. Apple also decided to slightly raise the price of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus from the comparable devices last year.

    But the iPhone X—which has an all-new exterior design, sharper OLED display, and a price tag starting at $999—isn’t immediately available. Preorders begin at the end of October for a scheduled November 3 delivery. And rumors abound that supplies may be very tight.

    News of underwhelming interest and preorders for the iPhone 8 are consistent with a research report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Monday. Kuo noted that shipping delays of only one week or so currently showing on Apple’s web site for the iPhone 8 are much less than the three- to six-week delays seen after earlier iPhone launches.

    Overestimating demand for the iPhone 8 models could hurt Apple if it produced too many units for sale ahead of time or can’t keep pace with higher-than-expected demand for the iPhone X model. But if Apple can produce enough of the iPhone X to satisfy the demand, it could beat the forecasts by selling more of the high-priced model than analysts expected.

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    Analysts are counting on robust sales of the iPhone 8 models to help Apple (aapl) meet its revenue prediction of between $49 billion and $52 billion for the current quarter, the company’s fiscal fourth quarter of 2017 which ends at the end of this month. Sales would need to increase from last year by 4% to 11% to meet the forecast.

    The bigger question is how iPhone oversupplies or shortages might effect the more significant holiday shopping quarter. Last year, Apple reported record revenue of $78.4 billion, 69% from iPhone sales. This year, Wall Street analysts expect Apple will bring in almost $87 billion, up 11%, thanks to a predicted heady 14% gain in iPhone revenue.

    Apple’s stock price, which had been on a tear ahead of the iPhone announcement event, has been little changed since as investors await more information on early sales. Like last year, but unlike many prior years, Apple did not announce how many iPhones had been preordered in the first weekend. Apple shares hit an all-time high of $164.94 on September 1, but have since fallen back a bit and were trading at $159.29 in midday on Tuesday.

    With competition somewhat muted in the wireless market this year, the carriers also have not been offering the same lucrative trade in deals to iPhone buyers that they did in 2016. AT&T (t), Verizon (vz), and T-Mobile (tmus) are offering only about half price on a new iPhone with a trade in, while Sprint (s) has a full-price trade-in deal but only for customers who add a new line and return one of the five most recent smartphones available.

    The iPhone X may be hurting iPhone 8 sales

    As Apple likely predicted, it appears a large number of prospective iPhone buyers are waiting until the iPhone X goes up for preorder in late October rather than purchasing the more readily available iPhone 8, which launches Friday. Noted Apple watcher and industry analyst firm KGI Securities put out a report today, detailed by 9to5Mac, explaining how the existence of the iPhone X may be cutting into iPhone 8 preorders, which went live last weekend and still show a reasonable availability window of one to two weeks for online orders. Launch-day pickup is still available for some models. A new iPhone typically jumps to a three to six-week availability after the initial preorder wave, KGI notes.

    It makes sense that the iPhone X — which, despite its $999 starting price, does sport some impressive tech — would cannibalize iPhone 8 sales. That’s likely why Apple spaced out the release dates of the two phones this fall instead of letting customers decide between them immediately. The iPhone 8 is more of a “S” upgrade than a full-blown overhaul. The iPhone X is also only slightly more expensive than the iPhone 8 Plus, ensuring at least some customers think the price jump is reasonable. Lastly, we can’t discount the allure of the best and most expensive smartphone Apple has ever made, a crown the iPhone X will wear for the foreseeable future and something that a good number of diehard Apple fans will find appealing.

    Still, that so many people might be holding out for the X does not bode well for its eventual availability. In a separate note last Friday, KGI explained how the device’s particular supply chain constraints, which may come from its edge-to-edge OLED display and the amount of camera tech in the front notch, could make it hard to come by until 2018. Having a large number of holdouts, including those who may have otherwise bought the iPhone 8, certainly won’t make buying the X easier.

    The iPhone X’s astronomical price might be to blame for supply shortages – BGR

    Apple announced the iPhone X in a blockbuster presentation last week. But we’re still left with some uncharacteristically big questions for Apple about its new device, and most of them center around shipping. We know that the phone is going on sale in early November, but we don’t know if pre-orders will be a trickle or a flood, or whether it’ll be sold out in stores within hours of opening.

    The Wall Street Journal‘s Christopher Mims has a new look at Apple’s supply problems, and the difficulty of manufacturing a new device these days. Among the usual list of problems he highlights — supply shortages, short timelines, design challenges — there’s an interesting rationale for the delay: pre-orders.

    Mims spoke to Asokan Ashok, a former Samsung employee who helped take products from R&D to a consumer device. “He says the pre-order mechanism, where customers signal their intent to buy a product before it starts shipping, provides early data that is essential to predicting demand for a gadget and distribution of demand across its various configurations—both notoriously difficult to forecast,” Mims writes.

    With the iPhone X, Apple is going into uncharted territory. The hardware changes made to the iPhone X would normally signal an overwhelming demand for the phone, but that “super-cycle” of upgrades could be tempered by the $999 price and the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Using a staggered launch and a longer pre-order window will give Apple valuable data about how the iPhone X will likely perform, which in turn can feed its manufacturing decisions.

    It’s easy for consumers to cry about a lack of devices and blame Apple for “not seeing it coming.” But as Mims’ piece demonstrates, demand forecasting is a tricky business with massive financial implications, and getting it right is harder than it looks. Just ask Nintendo.