Apple sold 9 million iPhones over the first weekend. Anyone who lined up outside retail stores to try get their hands on a new device will know that there seemed to be a distinct shortage of the new flagship iPhone 5s.
Same goes for those trying to order a new 5s from Apple’s online stores with delivery estimates slipping to October for all configurations of the device in stores around the world.
Industry analyst Gene Munster now forecasts that iPhone 5s supply will not meet up with demand until December.
In an investors’ note sent out on Thursday, Munster stated that Apple’s online stores for the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and China all currently display a shipping date of October. In Japan, the gold iPhone 5s was listed as unavailable with shoppers being advised to check the stock at their local Apple store.
Munster says that the iPhone 5s will follow the trend set by last year’s iPhone 5:
By comparison, the iPhone 5 did not reach supply/demand equilibrium based on online shipping times until early December. It appears that the 5s could follow the same pattern based on early ship time tracking.
The stock levels at Apple retail stores are also low with Munster stating that only 35% of them had iPhone 5s models in stock based on his research of 20 stores in the US.
The iPhone 5c does not seem to be victim to the same stock shortages. My local Apple store had “loads” of iPhone 5c stock according to the staff there on launch day.
There are some obvious reasons for this; the iPhone 5c is mostly made up of last year’s iPhone 5 components which are easier to manufacture based on already established production lines, the plastic casing is not as difficult to produce as the unibody aluminium back plate on the iPhone 5s, yield rates on new parts such as Touch ID and its sensors as well as the new camera may be low.
Some have suggested that Apple has purposefully restricted production of the iPhone 5s. Personally I think they would have loved to have sold even more phones last weekend and would not want to provide any artificial barriers to doing so. However, the iPhone 5s being so scarce, especially the gold model, does increase its attraction for some people. Just check out their prices on eBay.
Either way, looks like the iPhone 5s will be pretty difficult to get hold of for some time to come.