Apple's iPhone X suppliers 'still struggling' with dot projectors for TrueDepth camera

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in iPhone
Apple suppliers are continuing to have trouble making the 3D sensors for the TrueDepth camera in the iPhone X, and in particular the dot projector belonging to the "Romeo" transmission module, according to a Thursday report.




The problem's persistence is backed by an anonymous tech industry executive, as well as Yuanti Investment Consulting analyst Jeff Pu, said Nikkei Asian Review. Pu predicts that the iPhone X is about to enter mass production, and will start shipping out of China in the third week of October. His personal forecast for 2017 iPhone X shipments has been reduced from 40 million to 36 million.

Multiple reports have pointed to the TrueDepth camera as the main bottleneck for iPhone X production. A late September story was the first to identify the camera as split into "Romeo" and "Juliet" components, with the former being harder to make. Nikkei's sources described "Juliet" as the camera's receiving module.

The dot projector casts over 30,000 dots on a person's face, using it to create a depth map for the Face ID authentication system, as well as animoji in Messages.

Preorders for the iPhone X begin on Oct. 27 ahead of a Nov. 3 launch. The product could be a critical test of Apple's fanbase, as the first iPhone with a $999 entry price -- the top-end version will cost $1,149, more than some modern Macs.

The phone has already been spotted in public in places like San Francisco, carried by the likes of Apple workers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,889member
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    edited October 2017 pscooter63
  • Reply 2 of 26
    So I can't comment whether these rumors are true or not, but if they are I assume Apple is not surprised at this. The technology is so far more advanced than traditional facial recognition that they had to know it would be a challenge. I assume they are willing to struggle for a year on iPhone X yield to get the process down so next year's iPhone releases can hit their stride with a far wider release across multiple iPhone models. Meanwhile I still see iPhone 8 models as not available in local stores so I assume they are selling those to more mainstream buyers.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,889member
    So I can't comment whether these rumors are true or not, but if they are I assume Apple is not surprised at this. The technology is so far more advanced than traditional facial recognition that they had to know it would be a challenge. I assume they are willing to struggle for a year on iPhone X yield to get the process down so next year's iPhone releases can hit their stride with a far wider release across multiple iPhone models. Meanwhile I still see iPhone 8 models as not available in local stores so I assume they are selling those to more mainstream buyers.
    They seem to be true. There are too many different sources giving the same original information.

    but there was also the 40% reject rate on the OLED panels. Haven't heard anything new about that lately.
    macplusplus
  • Reply 4 of 26
    If Apple is the source then believe it, otherwise FAKE NEWS littered our world now...
    chasm
  • Reply 5 of 26
    Kuyangkoh said:
    If Apple is the source then believe it, otherwise FAKE NEWS littered our world now...
    What I find kind of sad is that Apple basically mints money and these rumors move the stock downward many times. Meanwhile cesspools like Facebook see their stock continue to rise while their core product is just selling ads and click-bait. Kind of screwy. It shows how far the stock market has drifted to nonsense trades. 
    cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 26
    ...Meanwhile I still see iPhone 8 models as not available in local stores so I assume they are selling those to more mainstream buyers...
    I see iphone 8 and 8+ available at all my local stores right now.
    philboogie
  • Reply 7 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,047member
    melgross said:
    So I can't comment whether these rumors are true or not, but if they are I assume Apple is not surprised at this. The technology is so far more advanced than traditional facial recognition that they had to know it would be a challenge. I assume they are willing to struggle for a year on iPhone X yield to get the process down so next year's iPhone releases can hit their stride with a far wider release across multiple iPhone models. Meanwhile I still see iPhone 8 models as not available in local stores so I assume they are selling those to more mainstream buyers.
    They seem to be true. There are too many different sources giving the same original information.

    but there was also the 40% reject rate on the OLED panels. Haven't heard anything new about that lately.
    What usually happens is that once source gives the information, then three others just repeat it. 
    macxpresschasm
  • Reply 8 of 26
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,721member
    melgross said:
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    I said on AI before.  Tim Cook is adopting an immature technology.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,889member
    Rayz2016 said:
    melgross said:
    So I can't comment whether these rumors are true or not, but if they are I assume Apple is not surprised at this. The technology is so far more advanced than traditional facial recognition that they had to know it would be a challenge. I assume they are willing to struggle for a year on iPhone X yield to get the process down so next year's iPhone releases can hit their stride with a far wider release across multiple iPhone models. Meanwhile I still see iPhone 8 models as not available in local stores so I assume they are selling those to more mainstream buyers.
    They seem to be true. There are too many different sources giving the same original information.

    but there was also the 40% reject rate on the OLED panels. Haven't heard anything new about that lately.
    What usually happens is that once source gives the information, then three others just repeat it. 
    Except that there are several original sources. There are two manufacturers for the camera parts alone. Apple isn't denying that they told other part manufacturers to slow deliveries down. That's normal for just in time manufacturing. There were several parts suppliers confirming that.

    apple usually makes a statement if something like this is wrong. They haven't made one so far.

    And if this is wrong, and everything is on time, then why the delay? Remember that almost two months ago we were told there would be a delay, and people posting were saying the same thing you're saying now. But there is a delay, and there needs to be a reason. Parts shortages on critical components is a very logical, and believable reason.
    edited October 2017 macpluspluspscooter63
  • Reply 10 of 26
    tzeshan said:
    melgross said:
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    I said on AI before.  Tim Cook is adopting an immature technology.

    Sounds like you don't like Tim Cook.  A more objective assessment would be that Apple Inc., for which Tim Cook is the chief executive, is adopting a cutting edge technology that will constrain production yields, at least initially.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,889member
    tzeshan said:
    melgross said:
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    I said on AI before.  Tim Cook is adopting an immature technology.
    No, not immature. And it's Apple, not Cook. Some of you are being silly with some sort of vendetta against Cook, and I don't know why.

    apple said that they've been working on this for at least four years, possibly five. Difficulty in manufacturing critical parts doesn't mean that the technology is immature. Every chip that's made needs to be taped out. Sometimes two or even three times. That doesn't mean that intel is using an immature technology. The same thing is true here. These blasters need to be made with very high precision. Apparently, that's hard to do.
    pscooter63
  • Reply 12 of 26
    chasmchasm Posts: 784member
    The source mentioned in this report is an investment analyst, not someone who actually knows what he is talking about -- but he IS, like most of the other "sources," someone who is interested in manipulating the stock in a certain direction or other. Apple does not heavily advertise technology it cannot deliver. Thus, I believe that these and similar reports are about as accurate the as the "40 percent yields on OLED screens" reports that have mysteriously disappeared and were never proven to be true. Given the smooth rollout of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, it seems clear that turned out to be pure stock-manipulation BS.
    cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 26
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,831member
    tzeshan said:
    melgross said:
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    I said on AI before.  Tim Cook is adopting an immature technology.

    Sounds like you don't like Tim Cook.  A more objective assessment would be that Apple Inc., for which Tim Cook is the chief executive, is adopting a cutting edge technology that will constrain production yields, at least initially.
    So Apple should WAIT until others have it first? You know when it's mature? HAHA The fact is Apple acquired Primasense back in 2013. You know, the Company that made the Original Xbox Kinect. So that was 4 years ago. The Tech is ready NOW. The problem is making them in the Volume Apple needs as Apple will sell MILLIONS in no time flat. This isn't Google who can't even sell 2 million pixels in 1 year. Apple sold 5.5 million iPhone 8 and 8 Pluses the first weekend. The fact is the iPhone X I'm pretty sure is going to be in even higher demand. It's just going to take however long it takes. Next year iPhone XI or whatever Apple calls it, supply will be much better. Here I thought everyone is always bitching how Apple doesn't have cutting edge Tech, and waits for things to Mature. Man, you really can't win either way.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,721member
    jbdragon said:
    tzeshan said:
    melgross said:
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    I said on AI before.  Tim Cook is adopting an immature technology.

    Sounds like you don't like Tim Cook.  A more objective assessment would be that Apple Inc., for which Tim Cook is the chief executive, is adopting a cutting edge technology that will constrain production yields, at least initially.
    So Apple should WAIT until others have it first? You know when it's mature? HAHA The fact is Apple acquired Primasense back in 2013. You know, the Company that made the Original Xbox Kinect. So that was 4 years ago. The Tech is ready NOW. The problem is making them in the Volume Apple needs as Apple will sell MILLIONS in no time flat. This isn't Google who can't even sell 2 million pixels in 1 year. Apple sold 5.5 million iPhone 8 and 8 Pluses the first weekend. The fact is the iPhone X I'm pretty sure is going to be in even higher demand. It's just going to take however long it takes. Next year iPhone XI or whatever Apple calls it, supply will be much better. Here I thought everyone is always bitching how Apple doesn't have cutting edge Tech, and waits for things to Mature. Man, you really can't win either way.
    The FaceID is supplied by a French company Eldim. 
  • Reply 15 of 26
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,561member
    tzeshan said:
    jbdragon said:
    tzeshan said:
    melgross said:
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    I said on AI before.  Tim Cook is adopting an immature technology.

    Sounds like you don't like Tim Cook.  A more objective assessment would be that Apple Inc., for which Tim Cook is the chief executive, is adopting a cutting edge technology that will constrain production yields, at least initially.
    So Apple should WAIT until others have it first? You know when it's mature? HAHA The fact is Apple acquired Primasense back in 2013. You know, the Company that made the Original Xbox Kinect. So that was 4 years ago. The Tech is ready NOW. The problem is making them in the Volume Apple needs as Apple will sell MILLIONS in no time flat. This isn't Google who can't even sell 2 million pixels in 1 year. Apple sold 5.5 million iPhone 8 and 8 Pluses the first weekend. The fact is the iPhone X I'm pretty sure is going to be in even higher demand. It's just going to take however long it takes. Next year iPhone XI or whatever Apple calls it, supply will be much better. Here I thought everyone is always bitching how Apple doesn't have cutting edge Tech, and waits for things to Mature. Man, you really can't win either way.
    The FaceID is supplied by a French company Eldim. 
    Eldim are supplying/designing components for the iPhone X the face ID tech comes from Primesense, who Apple bought in 2013.  Primesense supplied the tech for the first gen Kinect sensors used by Microsoft with the Xbox 360.  The hardware used in Face ID is a miniaturised version of this, Eldim have likely been involved in the optics part of this task but the actual tech and patents behind this came from Primesense. 
    pscooter63
  • Reply 16 of 26
    tzeshan said:
    melgross said:
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    I said on AI before.  Tim Cook is adopting an immature technology.
    I don't think that is the case. The technology is mature, it has been researched, developed and tested for years (as per Tim Cook and Jony Ive). The production is another kind of problem, it has nothing to do with the technology.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,721member
    kevin kee said:
    tzeshan said:
    melgross said:
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    I said on AI before.  Tim Cook is adopting an immature technology.
    I don't think that is the case. The technology is mature, it has been researched, developed and tested for years (as per Tim Cook and Jony Ive). The production is another kind of problem, it has nothing to do with the technology.
    It is immature because Apple stretches its accuracy rate too much.  It is an overkill. China already applied face recognition technology to train station. It is most likely not as accurate as FaceID. But they don't seem to think this is an issue. Why will one be afraid that iPhone X can be unlocked if all the people you know does not look very like you?
  • Reply 18 of 26
    tshapitshapi Posts: 285member
    masnick said:
    ...Meanwhile I still see iPhone 8 models as not available in local stores so I assume they are selling those to more mainstream buyers...
    I see iphone 8 and 8+ available at all my local stores right now.
    Tim Cook is miniaturizing a mature technology . There is a difference. They have combined prime sense and matiao and face shift to get this. 
  • Reply 19 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,889member
    chasm said:
    The source mentioned in this report is an investment analyst, not someone who actually knows what he is talking about -- but he IS, like most of the other "sources," someone who is interested in manipulating the stock in a certain direction or other. Apple does not heavily advertise technology it cannot deliver. Thus, I believe that these and similar reports are about as accurate the as the "40 percent yields on OLED screens" reports that have mysteriously disappeared and were never proven to be true. Given the smooth rollout of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, it seems clear that turned out to be pure stock-manipulation BS.
    Apple has had problems with parts in the past, and they will in the future. Some of these guys are very connected. They do talk to suppliers, who give them information.

    the 40% number on the screens was given by a high level official with Foxconn, Apple's main phone assemblier. There has been no denial of that number anywhere. Very likely, just as with these blasters, experience in working with it is increasing the yield, and that's normal too. There's no doubt that over the nest few months, yields on these parts will rise to expected levels.

    that doesn't mean that there's any reason to doubt what we,re reading now. The X has been expected to be delayed by the people for at least two months, and while some people have poo pooed that too, it's proven to be correct.

    the iPhone 8 and 8+ have nothing to do with any of this, so don't use them as examples. This is solely a X issue.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,889member
    tzeshan said:
    jbdragon said:
    tzeshan said:
    melgross said:
    From what we know, it is the dot projector that's the problem. Making such a tiny thing that throws 30 thousand dots out to about 2.5 feet, in perfect alignment, must be very difficult. If it's off by just a tiny amount, by the time it gets to your face, some dots could overlap others, which is an impossible situation.

    but it's not a camera. The IR camera is a totally seperate part.
    I said on AI before.  Tim Cook is adopting an immature technology.

    Sounds like you don't like Tim Cook.  A more objective assessment would be that Apple Inc., for which Tim Cook is the chief executive, is adopting a cutting edge technology that will constrain production yields, at least initially.
    So Apple should WAIT until others have it first? You know when it's mature? HAHA The fact is Apple acquired Primasense back in 2013. You know, the Company that made the Original Xbox Kinect. So that was 4 years ago. The Tech is ready NOW. The problem is making them in the Volume Apple needs as Apple will sell MILLIONS in no time flat. This isn't Google who can't even sell 2 million pixels in 1 year. Apple sold 5.5 million iPhone 8 and 8 Pluses the first weekend. The fact is the iPhone X I'm pretty sure is going to be in even higher demand. It's just going to take however long it takes. Next year iPhone XI or whatever Apple calls it, supply will be much better. Here I thought everyone is always bitching how Apple doesn't have cutting edge Tech, and waits for things to Mature. Man, you really can't win either way.
    The FaceID is supplied by a French company Eldim. 
    Different parts are coming from different vendors. As we all know, Apple doesn't make the parts it designs.
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