iPhone 5 to Launch with Limited Supply
Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) long-awaited smartphone may only be available in limited quantities when it is released this September.
According to DigiTimes, Apple will ship less than 15 million new iPhones in the next quarter. Analysts had previously expected the company to ship as many as 20 million units.
This is a far cry from the 37 million iPhones that Apple sold when the iPhone 4S was released. While not all of those iPhones were of the 4S variety (Apple did not specify which iPhones it sold, only that it sold 37 million of them), the demand was unprecedented.
Earlier in 2012, a new study from ChangeWave Research revealed that the demand for the iPhone 5 is higher than any other smartphone Apple has released.
DigiTimes' sources claim that the low shipment expectations were caused by "low yield rates in the production of in-cell touch panels," which the iPhone 5 is expected to have, as well as a "connector at the bottom of the phone." If true, this would be the first time that Apple has experienced a massive device shortage since the iPad 2 was released.
Consumers anticipated long lines and limited supply when the third-generation iPad arrived in spring 2012. Apple came prepared however, and ended up shipping more than enough tablets to meet demand.
Samsung has already sold 10 million units of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III. The device has reportedly been plagued by worldwide shipment shortages that have prevented Samsung from selling more units. While that may be true, the lines have been relatively tame in North America where Apple reigns supreme.
There are not many other smartphones that are capable of challenging the iPhone 5 this year. Nokia (NYSE: NOK), which commands 59 percent of the worldwide Windows Phone market, is expected to release a series of new devices this fall.
Samsung, Apple's chief competitor, plans to release the Galaxy Note II, the sequel to the popular smartphone/tablet hybrid.
Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) had planned to enter the fray as well, but a massive delay involving the company's next-generation mobile operating system may prevent RIM from shipping any new devices.
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