WSJ: no Romeo emitters for Face ID's Juliet modules equals iPhone X delays


Here we go again. Yesterday, supply chain sources became worried about the low yield of the iPhone X's structured light emitter used in its Face ID recognition set at the front of the handset. Today, Wall Street Journal corroborates the supply constraint story for the modules, dubbed Romeo, and predicts more delays to the iPhone X production going forward. 

Given how many people are holding back from buying a new iPhone precisely because of the X, any further postponement of shipments is likely to translate unfavorably to Apple's quarterly results, not to mention many frustrated users that will be forced to wait longer than expected to get their hands on the precious new iPhone X.

The parts that make Face ID possible are called Romeo and Juliet, as they have to be paired together for the system to work. Romeo throws in no less than 30 000 near-infrared beams at your face projecting a pattern onto it, while Juliet is the infrared camera that collects and infers the depth perception by calculating where the lines break via an algorithm. The tricky Romeo emitter is assembled by LG Innotek and Sharp, but is apparently so complex that yields have been subpar so far, and there aren't enough pieces to go together with all the Juliets that have been produced by other suppliers. 

It's not the first time that a new tech introduced by Apple would enter with a snag in the supply chain, but Tim Cook and gang usually manage to solve the constraints in the span of few weeks, so hopefully that will be the case with their biggest bet in years - the iPhone X - too.

source: WSJ (paywall)

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iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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24 Comments

1. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Romeo and Juliet huh... One will never work if the other dies. Neat.

2. toukale

Posts: 646; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

This is the reason why I always laugh at folks who says Apple is not putting new cutting edge tech in their phones. There is a big reason for that, it has all to do with scale. No other vendor operates at their scale. For the past few years folks complained about iPhones not having Oled to which I said, there is not enough for Apple to adopt oled yet. While others can put certain tech in their phones, Apple needs to make sure whatever tech their choose can meet their scale, otherwise they can’t do it. This is a curse of their success. No other vendor needs 10-13 million devices on launch day, but Apple do. It's funny reading some comments thinking that the likes of the no name vendor can do something that the company with the most cash on hand can't. Putting some exotic externals are nice, but can you do it at their scale, most of the time the answer is no.

4. PhoneInQuestion

Posts: 496; Member since: Aug 20, 2017

The only reason you care is because it's Apple, otherwise everything you put out in defense of a corporation is semantics. Nobody cares, unless they are spending over a thousand dollars on one or even two delays that could still happen.

5. toukale

Posts: 646; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

That may be for some, still does not make it untrue.

8. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Apple stated OLED wasn't good enough for them to use until now. It had nothign to do with availability. Sony, Sharp, Samsung and LG all make OLED displays. None of the OEM's seem to have any issue producing 700M+ components for all the Android phones sold in a year. Apple scale is far lower than all combined Android OEM's and yet they all manage to get phones released on time with almost no delays

9. toukale

Posts: 646; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

Let's take a look, the gs8 sold about 5 million a month on launch, Note line about 1-2 million a month. The Sony's, HTC, and all the rest top of the lines are moving even less. The pixels line (let's not even include that one). You see where this is going? None of those guys needs to have 10-13 million the first few days or weeks. That is the difference here. Those 700 million you are talking about are not OLED screen phones, Samsung note and gs7 lines were about 85-100 millions sold last year about 1/3 of their total shipments which uses the parts we are talking about. Your 700 million number is total bs.https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/16/samsung-sells-5-million-galaxy-s8-phones/ http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/samsung-galaxy-s8-20-million-units-1733521

10. DechyX

Posts: 156; Member since: May 16, 2011

and Samsung has been been making OLED displays since the S1? and all the Notes, and most the A Series and the. I'm sure Apple had normal growing pains from making a change in it's production, and that's fine. But to say it has anything to do with their innovative fears is crazy. If they wanted to make all their phones out of marble they have the capital, reputation, and pull to do it. This is a blip, Apple will be fine.

16. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

As far as I know, LG started OLED production pretty early. But if you look online, LG has struggled to bring quality OLED displays. Samsung has perfected the technology because they threw unlimited amounts of cash at it. Foxconn bought Sharp and they are 15 months from having factories to make Apple OLED panels

15. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Can you read? I said and I quote, "None of the OEM's seem to have any issue producing 700M+ components for all the Android phones sold in a year." Nothing you said changed the fact of what I said. Apple makes and sells 220ish Million phones in a whole year. All the Android phones combined sell 1B in ayear. Samsung alone sells 300M+ phone or 80M+ per quarter on average, which Apple does not and has not done ever. Samsung has sold 80M phones per quarter on average since 2011. No OEM has those numbers consistently or ever and that includes Apple. @80M per quarter, that 6M phones per week or 24M per month on average for one OEM who seems to never be short on phones yet sells more than any single OEM You looking at the wrong number. I did say in a year. You trying to pick one model of phone, because Apple chose to make one model. No one else makes one model so your point is moot. Stop trying to debate, because I didn't start one.

20. toukale

Posts: 646; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

So let me guess, those numbers you are talking about are all oled shipping products with all the latest techs, because that's what I am talking about and you responded to. Samsung ships about 300 million phone where 2/3 are the cheap versions. It's the reason their ASP is around $230 while Apple stands at over $600. The gs8/Note line combine have yet to reach the 100 million number per year. Never mind the other vendors. But let's put all those cheap $25-$100 dollar devices together in there. Apple currently own about 65% of the premium market, that's the market they currently competes in.

13. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

You would have a point if Apple didn't have 200 billion in liquid cash and fans and media put them up to the same standard as they do other companies. For example, if Samsung didn't adopt cutting edge technologies in their new phones they would already be crucified by their fans and the media and sold to Google like HTC is sort of. Apple reached this scale because of idiots like you letting them get away with old technology. They should be down under just like they were before Microsoft saved them. The fact that they reached this scale, when they shouldn't have, doesn't give them any excuses at all. They have the sheep money to keep putting in cutting edge technology at massive scales, but they don't to preserve their fat profit margins. Your excuse for them works for Samsung but they can't get away with not using cutting edge technology though because that's their bread and butter.

22. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

BS (everyone under this thread) Apple delay with the new tech ONLY because of the price and the profit. Everything else are lame excuses. Period.

3. limporgyuk

Posts: 371; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Romeo & Juliet were 12 BTW, just like the age of the iphone 8 screen resolution. All this aggro for animated emoji's?

7. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Good analogy!

6. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Not sure what the title really means. But it appears this is a newer tech, that really hasn't been proven and it was rushed to production and it isn't ready. Seems because none of the OEM's were able to get the under the display FPS ready or working, they rushed to provide an alternative and it isn't working. At least one OEM simply stayed with what they know works.

11. dnomadic

Posts: 424; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I hear about contracts every year.... My conspiracy, it is all staged to create stronger demand, high thrid patry costs, creates conversation, increae exclusivity .increases demand...just my thoughts... Games and more games.... They know what they are making and have parts ordered accordingly... They don't order and assemble parts the day of launch so don't want to hear about numbers of products being moved...they know what they need and they what they need to create hype.

12. Avieshek unregistered

If people fall for bulls**ts, internet really makes people dumb. And at the moment, it's America.

14. Xilam unregistered

Americans were smart enough to build a country where they can afford to be dumb! (Xilam, circa 2017) But seriously, In the US, even when economy is bad it’s better than what’s considered great in most of the world. An average American can afford to buy something that they cannot afford without much repercussion - that’s because American people have build an economy that allowed them to do that - that’s actually smart! I’m not rich by any standard - but I live so much better than most of the world population. These people created a country that the world aspires to.

18. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Many of the fans here I see, don't live in America. Oh and while you euros are always trying to put Americans down, we are the only country in most cases who step and help all you blokes when something goes down in your country. REMEMBER THAT! The only country I would ever live in that I think would be a better place to live would be the UK, England, Serbia or Australia and the Philippines. There are lots of smart Americans here. Maybe you should stop watching American TV where they only put the dumb ones on. Oh and the fools who voted for Trump, many are not stupid. But begin smart and educated doesn't mean you can't make bad decisions.

17. p51d007

Posts: 705; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Instead of NOT releasing the X, and concentrating on PERFECTING the manufacturing output from the vendors, and releasing a sideways "slight" update for the 8, Apple wanted to show off something for the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. So they rushed this thing through, not ready for prime time, and said it would be available by October/November. Boy, Apple has lost its shine since Jobs died. You think he would put up with this? He wouldn't even have allowed it to be seen by the public if it wasn't ready.

19. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Even when they had Jobs, they rush products that were not ready for Prime time. The fact is though, when you sign a contract, the vendors agree to have product ready Jobs never cared about money by his own admission and even Wozniak eluded to that fact many times. Cook is a stock holder and only cares about money. He cares about what sells. Ever since he took over, iOS has gotten worse, because he doesn't have the direction Jobs had because he doesn't care about quality. He cares only about sells.

21. toukale

Posts: 646; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

I wish you were wrong with that comment and sentiment but I am afraid you more right than wrong. Cook is a numbers guy, numbers guy again cares about numbers and right now Apple is killing it with the numbers and he is happy. Wall street is also happy, but wall street leaves in the present, in the now most of the time. They rarely care or live in the future.

23. Wazupmrg

Posts: 188; Member since: Apr 10, 2017

Or just get a better phone in the Note 8 that has more features, runs longer and smoother (that's what she said), and already has all the "new" technology the X is supposed to have

24. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

What was I wrong about? You simply said what I said. He is a numbers guys = He cares about what sells. The higher the sells numbers, the lesser the quality. This has happened to Ford assumign you are old enough to remember Ford facts. Ford in the 80's had 5 of the top 10 vehicles being sold in the USA. Then they pulled a GM, acquired to many brandsand were wprried about being left in thw quanity dust, that they left quality. Then Ford cars gain a new name - Forever On the Road Deserted - because Ford cars were breaking down due to bad quality. This has happened to Toyota too and many others. The first 4 iPhone were of slightly better quality than what they make now. As IOS has gained more features, many that were implement good at first, are now being poorly implemented, with a crowded UI/UX that makes using the phone terrible I am truly and honestly sadden by the moves Appel have made under Cook. Even Steve Wozniak stated the same and he even stated, he has no idea what Apple is doing, and that ti is not the company he once loved. I am the same. I loved Apple products for years.Having own every Apple II up tot the IIGS and I had one of the first Mac's. I had Gen 3 and 4 of the iPod Touch and the iPhone 4/4S/7+ and I had the first 5 iPad's and I have the first iPad Pro which to me isn't Pro at all. Apple doesn't need t rush or start making poor products.

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