Apple curiously left out the higher-end iPhone 5s when taking pre-orders, leaving a lot of folks to speculate that the company might want to push the $99 iPhone 5c as the mass-market device. But there might be another reason the company didn’t put the iPhone 5s up for pre-order: constrained supply.
According to 9to5Mac, iPhone 5s will be available in limited quantity on launch, with 70-80 percent of new iPhone stock in Apple Stores being the iPhone 5c:
The iPhone 5s will be available in limited quantity, and Apple is expecting the Space Gray model to be most popular, according to our sources. Of the iPhone 5s units scheduled for delivery to Apple Stores for the launch this Friday, about an average of three out of every four units will be a Space Gray model. The white/silver and white/gold options will be hard to come by at launch.
Separately, AllThingsD reports that carriers, too, will have limited stock of the iPhone 5s on launch:
“We will have grotesquely unavailable inventory,” was how one carrier source put it.
A source at a second carrier also complained of extremely disappointing shipments from Apple, but said that demand for the high-end iPhone may also be slightly less than initially thought, too. Apparently it is the color of the iPhone 5c that seems to have captured more customer’s eye.
So it looks like getting hold of an iPhone 5s on launch will be quite the task, for which you’ll have to be prepared for.
Apple reportedly plans to help customers buy an iPhone 5s by updating the Apple Store app with information about stock of the device in each of its retail stores. This will help customers monitor stock in various stores without calling or visiting them. The update is due to be released by next week.
While there’s no clear reason as to why the supply is constrained, an earlier report claimed that the slow production of the new fingerprint sensor is proving to be a bottleneck in the manufacturing process. The production is expected to improve slightly only by the holiday quarter.