Apple could drop the iPhone X sooner than expected. A report revealed Friday shows the company’s $999 smartphone, which only launched two months ago, could face early retirement because of low demand.

In a memo by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, obtained by AppleInsider, the Apple watcher claims that around 18 million iPhone X devices will ship in the first quarter of 2018. However, the phone’s weird design — with a notch in the top of the display housing a face recognition sensor — has had a negative effect on sales, particularly in China where the 5.8-inch screen is regarded as having less usable space than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. Because of this, Apple may stop producing the device by the summer and roll out three new models later this year.

The move would be a marked change for Apple, which normally sells its flagship devices for a few years after first hitting the market. The iPhone 6S, the oldest smartphone Apple sells, first hit the market in 2015. When a new flagship device launches, Apple tends to lower the price of last year’s model and continues selling the older device.

The iPhone X as seen on Apple's website
The iPhone X as seen on Apple's website

Beyond the design decisions, the Face ID scanner has proven controversial as an alternative to the tried-and-tested Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Apple claims it’s a more secure unlock method, with a one in a million chance the device will unlock with the wrong face. Reviewers claimed the feature had the hallmarks of a first-generation product, as it required a readjustment of the way people use their phones.

However, this doesn’t mean Apple is planning to ditch the face-scanning capabilities present in the device. The TrueDepth sensor, which has been compared to a miniaturized Microsoft Kinect for the way it beams infrared to take a 3D scan of a user’s face, will likely find a new home on the three new models. Among the potential lineup would be an “iPhone X Plus” model aimed at alleviating the concerns over limited screen space.

Dropping the iPhone X would leave it as something of an oddity in Apple’s release lineup. The phone that chief designer Jony Ive referred to as a “new chapter” of the company’s history would also be one of the devices with the shortest stay on the market.

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