iPhone launch: demand for the 5s outstrips supply as Apple heads for lucrative opening weekend

Global launch hampered by low stock for the premium iPhone 5s

Demand for Apple’s new iPhone 5s has already outstripped supply, with the company’s website listing the handset as unavailable for “7-10 business days” a half hour after it went on sale.

This has since been changed to an expected dispatch date of October for all models (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB) and all colours (black, silver and gold). The gold 5s was the first variation to become unavailable for immediate shipping, though its unknown whether this is due to high demand or low supply.

This situation has been mirrored across Europe, Asia, and the US, with supplies of the iPhone 5s quickly running out whilst shipping dates are pushed further into the future.

Customers are also unified in showing less immediate interest in the iPhone 5c; the less expensive iPhone that comes with plastic-casing in a range of colours.

Mobile networks have also privately expressed frustration over the less-than-generous supply of the iPhone 5s , with some suspecting that Apple is limiting stock in an attempt to boost sales of the 5c.

The 5c is essentially a repackaging of the iPhone 5 whilst the 5s offer significant upgrades in hardware. These include a new 64-bit processor that Apple claim is twice as fast as its predecessor; a fingerprint sensor built into the home button, and an upgraded camera with a dual-colour LED flash.

These upgraded features have spurred demand for the 5s, but some analysts believe these components might also have hampered supply, with manufacturers struggling to keep up with the changes.

Early reports suggest the opening weekend for the 5c and 5s might exceed demand for the iPhone 5. The 5, launched last year, sold more than 5 million units (including pre-orders) on the weekend, setting a record for Apple.

However, this year is the first time that Apple has ever launched two new models of the iPhone at once. It is also the first launch to happen simultaneously in Chinese and western markets.

Whether customers buying the 5c will cannibalize sales of the 5s – or if Asian sales will boost demand and help Apple achieve a new record – remains to be seen.

(click here to read our guide to the major changes in iOS 7)
(click here to see our reviews of the iPhone 5c and 5s)
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