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Apple iPhone X could be delayed due to 3D camera problem

  • Firm's suppliers still struggling to manufacture iPhone X's TrueDepth camera
  • Camera contains two modules codenamed Romeo and Juliet 

By Mark Prigg For Dailymail.com

Published: 18:31 EDT, 12 October 2017 | Updated: 19:16 EDT, 12 October 2017

Apple's radical FaceID system is still causing major production issues for the firm just weeks before its launch, it has been claimed.

The firm's suppliers are still struggling to perfect manufacturing of the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera and 3D facial recognition system, according to Japan's Nikkei Asian Review.

Jeff Pu, an analyst with Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting, believes the problems could mean Apple will face even bigger shortages of its flagship handset than previously thought.

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The latest forecast from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI says Apple still cannot make enough of the handsets due to technical problems with the front facing TrueDepth camera it uses to scan people's faces.
The latest forecast from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI says Apple still cannot make enough of the handsets due to technical problems with the front facing TrueDepth camera it uses to scan people's faces.

The latest forecast from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI says Apple still cannot make enough of the handsets due to technical problems with the front facing TrueDepth camera it uses to scan people's faces.

THE PROBLEM 

Multiple reports have claimed it has taken more time to assemble the TrueDepth system's so-called 'Romeo' module than the 'Juliet' module.

The 'Romeo' module includes the dot projector that beams more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of your face.

The 'Juliet' module includes the infrared camera that analyzes the pattern. 

Together, they help power new iPhone X features such as Face ID and Animoji.

 

He cut his forecast of the number of iPhone X devices that will be produced this year from 40 million units to 36 million. 

It is the second time he has revised down his estimate, which originally totalled 45 million earlier this year, according to  

Multiple reports have claimed it has taken more time to assemble the TrueDepth system's so-called 'Romeo' module than the 'Juliet' module.

According to the Wall Street Journal 'One person said the trouble with 'Romeo' involved complications in assembling the various components into the module.

'Both people said that meant there weren't enough 'Romeos' to go with the number of 'Juliets' on hand, although one of them said the Romeo assembly process is now moving smoothly. 

However, Pu believes the iPhone X will still enter mass production in mid-October and begin to be shipped from China to the first wave of launch countries next week. 

iPhone X pre-orders are scheduled to begin on Friday, October 27, and the device officially launches on Friday, November 3. 

Earlier this month the latest forecast from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI saysApple still cannot make enough of the handsets due to technical problems with the front facing TrueDepth camera it uses to scan people's faces. 

The firm lowered its estimates of iPhone X shipments in 2017 to 30-35 million units from a previous estimate of 40 million due to the issues. 

However, even with initial production difficulties, Kuo writes that the outlook for 2018-2019 iPhone growth is still positive. 

He adds an estimate that Android devices are now likely '1.5-2.5 years' behind Apple when it comes to matching its TrueDepth camera experience.  

Last week the final missing specs omitted from the fanfare launch of Apple's iPhone X may inadvertently have been leaked, thanks to a Chinese bureaucratic document.

Official paperwork appears to reveal the battery life, ram and CPU speed of the upcoming flagship handset.

The leaks suggests the iPhone X will come with a 2,715mAh battery and 3GB of RAM. 

This is compared to a 1,821mAh battery capacity for the iPhone 8, and a 2,675mAh cell for the iPhone 8 Plus. 

Apple has been less than forthcoming in revealing the specifics of the new device's hardware, so the documents offer tantalising clues for diehard fans. 

The details were revealed in an electronic filing to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center (TENAA).  

The extra battery capacity is believed to be designed to power the new handset's TrueDepth depth-sensing camera, which enables the new Face ID facial recognition system, and dual camera set up.

HOW APPLE'S FACE ID WORKS 

Face ID uses a TrueDepth front-facing camera on the iPhone X, which has multiple components. 

A Dot Projector projects more than 30,000 invisible dots onto your face to map its structure.

The dot map is then read by an infrared camera and the structure of your face is relayed to the A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone X, where it is turned into a mathematical model. 

When FaceID is used, a dot projector projects more than 30,000 invisible dots onto your face to map its structure
When FaceID is used, a dot projector projects more than 30,000 invisible dots onto your face to map its structure

When FaceID is used, a dot projector projects more than 30,000 invisible dots onto your face to map its structure

The A11 chip then compares your facial structure to the facial scan stored in the iPhone X during the setup process. 

Face ID uses infrared to scan your face, so it works in low lighting conditions and in the dark. 

It will only unlock your device when you look in the direction of the iPhone X with your eyes open.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, speaks about the Face ID feature to unlock the iPhone X during the company's event at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, speaks about the Face ID feature to unlock the iPhone X during the company's event at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, speaks about the Face ID feature to unlock the iPhone X during the company's event at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino

Face ID captures both a 3-D and 2-D image of your face using infrared light while you're looking straight at the camera.  

Five unsuccessful attempts at Face ID will force you to enter a passcode - which you'll need anyway just to set up facial recognition. 

That requires you to come up with a secure string of digits - or, for extra security, a string of letters and numbers - to protect your privacy.

Face ID also adapts to changes in your appearance over time, so it will continue to recognize you as you grow a beard or grow your hair longer.

During the unveiling earlier this month in California, Apple said the X's battery life would last up to two hours longer than its previous models. 

The TENAA document also seems to confirm the RAM capacity for the iPhone X as 3GB, slightly more than the iPhone 8's reported 2GB.

The device's  A11 Bionic CPU chip is also clocked at 2.4GHz, according to reports in Apple Insider.

Renowned leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer shared the information with the tech community through a tweet posted at 8.12 am BST (3.12 am ET) this morning.

Using his @onleaks handle, he said: 'For those who cares about #2, Tenaa just confirmed #iPhoneX comes with 3GB of RAM, reveals 2716mAh battery.'

Following months of anticipation, Apple finally unveiled its souped-up 'anniversary' phone, the iPhone X, on September 12.

The $999 (£999 in the UK) iPhone X features an edge-to-edge display with richer colours, and facial recognition software called Face ID that allows users to unlock the phone without the need for a fingerprint reader or physical home button.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, took to the stage of the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple's new Apple Park 'spaceship' campus - widely considered to be the final product designed by Jobs, who died in 2011.

Having revealed several new devices throughout the presentation Tim Cook unveiled the much anticipated iPhone X (pronounced iPhone Ten). 

Cook said: 'We're not stopping there, we have one more thing.

Apple has been less than forthcoming in revealing the specifics of the new device's hardware, so the documents offer tantalising clues for diehard fans
Apple has been less than forthcoming in revealing the specifics of the new device's hardware, so the documents offer tantalising clues for diehard fans

Apple has been less than forthcoming in revealing the specifics of the new device's hardware, so the documents offer tantalising clues for diehard fans

HOW THE IPHONE X COMPARES TO OTHER MODELS 
Specification iPhone X iPhone 8 iPhone 8 Plus Galaxy Note 8 Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8 Plus
Display 5.8 inches 4.7 inches 5.5 inches 6.3 inches 5.8 inches 6.2 inches
Resolution 2436 x 1125 1334 x 750 1920 x 1080 2960 x 1440 2960 x 1440 2960 x 1440
Processor A11 Bionic A11 Bionic A11 Bionic Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz and 1.9GHz, octa-core) Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz and 1.9GHz, octa-core) Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz and 1.9GHz, octa-core)
RAM 3GB  2GB 3GB  6GB 4GB 4GB
Storage 64GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB 64GB
Rear camera 12 megapixel, 12 megapixel (wide) 12 megapixel 12 megapixel, 12 megapixel (wide) 12 megapixel, 12 megapixel (wide) 12 megapixel 12 megapixel
Front camera 7 megapixel 7 megapixel 7 megapixel 8 megapixel 8 megapixel 8 megapixel
Battery 2,716mAh  1,821mAh  2,691mAh  3,300mAh 3,000mAh 3,500mAh
Water protection IP67 IP67 IP67 IP68 IP68 IP68
Weight 0.38 pounds 0.33 pounds 0.45 pounds 0.43 pounds 0.34 pounds 0.38 pounds
Dimensions (in.) 5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30 6.40 x 2.94 x 0.34 5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 6.28 x 2.88 x 0.31
Starting price $999 $699.0 $799.00 $930 $749.00 $849.00
Misc. Face ID scanner Wireless charging Wireless charging S Pen, Iris scanner, USB-C, wireless charging Iris scanner, USB-C, wireless charging Iris scanner, USB-C, wireless charging

'Our teams have been hard at work for years on the future of the smartphone.

'Now, ten years later it is only fitting we are here, in this place on this day that will set the path for for technology for the next decade.' 

A video then showed the iPhone X in action.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple explained: 'It is all screen, it is beautiful to look at, incredible to hold. There has never been anything like it.' 

The phone features a glass front and back, with a band around the edge made from surgical grade stainless steel, as well as an edgeless display.

The iPhone will be dust and waterproof at a microscopic level. 

iPhone X has an all new display, called the 'super retina display.'

On the diagonal, the display is 5.8 inch, with over two million pixels - the highest resolution and pixel density ever seen in an iPhone.   

It also features an OLED display.

Schiller said: 'It's the point of this technology that matters - it's easier to use, and more intuitive.'  

With the phone, users will be able to raise it to wake, or tap the screen to wake - because Apple has ditched the home button. 

Now, to reach the home screen, users now swipe up from the bottom of the screen. 

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