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Jet Black iPhones Proving Difficult to Make, Causing Short Supply

The precision nine-step anodization and polishing process is to blame
September 26, 2016

Are you in the market for a new Jet Black iPhone 7? You might be waiting a while.

It looks like the high-gloss finish found on the Jet Black iPhone 7 is proving difficult to manufacture. As a result, there’s a worldwide shortage for the model, according to noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors).

Up to 40 percent of Jet Black iPhones produced have not passed Apple’s quality standards and must be retooled. This news comes less than two weeks after the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were first released.

During this month’s iPhone 7 event, Apple explained that the Jet Black finish is achieved through a precision nine-step anodization and polishing process. It’s that process that has proven difficult to get right.

According to Kuo, also limiting the supply of Jet Black iPhones is the recent Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall.

He notes:

Early shortage not entirely due to market demand. Shipment time for online orders is on par with last year’s cycle, generally estimated within 2-3 weeks, with the exception of the jet black model, which suffers from a low casing production yield rate of 60-70%. However, with the number of countries in the first wave to debut the iPhone 7 rising to 28 this year, versus 12 for the iPhone 6S launch, we believe overall demand for iPhone 7 is lower than that of its predecessor. Regarding news of some mobile operators reporting pre-order growth for the iPhone 7 over last year’s 6S, we believe this is mainly attributable to market share gains for these mobile operators thanks to new promotions, rather than representing greater consumer demand.

- Ming-Chi Kuo

New Jet Black iPhone 7 orders in the United States are currently showing shipping times of “3-5 weeks” for the 4.7-inch model and “November” for the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.