Apple iPhone X demand is ‘off the charts

The company says initial response has been strong, and shipping times for the iPhone X have already slipped to December.

Apple is liking the early reaction to the iPhone X.

“We can see from the initial response, customer demand is off the charts,” said an Apple spokeswoman.

Dutiful Apple fans were able to preorder the iPhone X starting at 12:01 a.m. PT this morning, and within 10 minutes, the shipping dates began to slip past the Nov. 3 launch date. Depending on the models, carrier and country, the delay in shipping is anywhere from a week to six weeks — smack in the middle of December.

The increased demand for the iPhone X comes after a more muted reception for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which went on sale late last month. Results from the US carriers suggest sales of the phones, which saw only a modest change with a glass back and addition of wireless charging as the key upgrades, were bumpy.

This was the first time Apple staggered the release of its different models, with an early release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X on Nov. 3. A few carriers noted the split in timing affected their own customer growth.

The iPhone X marks the first major redesign the phone has seen in years. Apple ditched its Touch ID home button and instead added its new Face ID facial recognition in the device. It also integrated a new OLED screen that stretches across the front of the display.

The device has another new feature: a higher price. The iPhone X starts at $999, £999 or AU$1,579 for the 64GB model, while the 256GB iPhone X costs $1,149, £1,149 or AU$1,829.

The phone market could use a jolt of excitement. Last year marked the slowest growth rate for the phone industry since it began, and Apple’s iPhone sales dropped for four straight quarters. Total industry shipments rose just 2.5 percent to 1.47 billion, according to IDC, and they should increase only 1.7 percent this year. The firm expects phone shipments to keep growing through 2021, but the real boom days are over.

The company is set to post its fiscal fourth quarter earnings report on Thursday.

Apple will have iPhone X units available for sale at its stores and retail partners starting at 8 a.m. (local time) on Nov. 3, but the supply is expected to be limited. The company warned customers to get to the store early — not that hardcore fans didn’t already know that.

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