The iPhone X could be incredibly hard to get hold of when it comes out, according to a new report.

Apple hasn't yet started production of the phone, according to analyst Christopher Case. That puts it behind schedule and almost certianly means that supply is going to be even lower than expected.

That's even after repeated suggestions that the iPhone X is being made in relatively small numbers, and also after Apple pushed back the release date of the phone by a month and a half.

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The company won't release the phone – which starts at $999 or the same in pounds or euros – until 3 November, with pre-orders opening a week before. That delay is thought to be a result of problems making the phone, as well as an attempt to allow the less premium iPhone 8 to absorb some of the demand.

Mr Case, an analyst for Barrons, said that he has been visiting suppliers over the last weeks, ahead of the release of the new phones. He found that production hadn't yet started.

"While our checks are ongoing, initial feedback from our meetings suggests that final production of iPhone X has not yet begun, with production expected to commence in mid-October," he wrote in a report, according to blog 9to5mac. "That production start is about a month later when compared to expectations a month ago, and about 2 months later than expectations at the end of June.

It's possible that production may in fact have begun, or that it will ramp up with such speed that it will allow Apple to overcome the delay. But either way, analysts have repeatedly suggested that the new phone probably won't be readily available until 2018, apparently because it is so difficult to make such a new and high-tech handset.

Apple's iPhone X was unveiled at a launch event that also the reveal of the iPhone 8 and updates to the Apple Watch and Apple TV. The premium new phone includes a screen that sweeps across almost the entirety of the front of the phone, a new display and facial recognition technology.

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