Analysts are already predicting that Apple is going to sell less than half its previous numbers of iPhones. For the first time, the company hasn’t provided the number of pre-orders.
The BBC suggests Apple might have deliberately restricted the number of iPhones available in the channel in a bid to make the phones look popular, even if it means they will sell less.
Apple has done this in the past, but in normal circumstances, the phones would actually be in demand, and this is not the case.
There is every indication that Apple’s plan has angered its mobile network partners.
Several networks moaned that stock of the iPhone 5S is severely limited in the UK, and will likely cause disappointment.
If any supplier speaks out, they fear they could be disadvantaged when Apple does put supplies back in the shops.
It is looking like Apple had no problems putting enough of the 5C, a lower-cost phone and newcomer to Apple’s range, on the shelves.
This is the phone that many analysts think Apple will have difficulty shifting. It is too expensive for a cheap phone and has limited functionality for the price point.
Insiders from two of the companies told the BBC they suspected Apple was trying to drive sales of the cheaper 5C model after customers had been hesitant to place orders. After all, Apple refused to let customers pre-order the 5S.
One network spokesperson complained that while they had “crates and crates” of the 5C, the higher-end 5S was being “drip fed” into the market. Apple was also being evasive about exactly when extra supplies of the 5S will show up.
The logic is that having queued for the iPhone 5S punters will buy a 5C when the limited supply of the more expensive phone runs out. If that is Apple’s plan then it goes to show how dense the company is.
Apple’s sales are declining, and messing with fanboy’s heads is not something you want to do at this point.
Apple has the advantage here that it will be the suppliers, and not Cupertino, that will get the blame for the supply shortage. After all, Apple customers have difficulty understanding that the company does not have their best interests at heart.
O2 told the BBC that it would not be selling the 5S in its stores on launch day, but that customers would be able to try a “demo” model and place an order through their website.
It is the first time that the company had to put all of its stock online due to low availability.
It appears that the same game is being played across the pond. One US network told All Things Digital it had “grotesquely unavailable inventory” ahead of launch day.
In other countries, Apple suppliers have told some customers the phone is not available until October.
All this will mean that sales of the 5C might be higher than expected but the iPhone 5S will sell even less and will lose much of the hype generated by a launch.