Apple's Unexpected iPhone 5 Supply Shortage
While it is not yet clear how many iPhones Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will be able to ship in September, it appears that consumers have already created a shortage with regard to the device's most important accessory.
According to CNET, the standard, USB-to-Lightning adapter will now ship in two to three weeks. The Lighting-to-30-pin adapters, which will allow iPhone 5 users to connect the new device to all of their old docks and accessories, will not ship until October.
The adapters were reportedly scheduled to ship in October, but the USB-to-Lightning adapter originally left the Apple Store website in just a few days. Now consumers will have to wait until the end of September before they can obtain the cable.
This news follows a series of rumors that suggested that the iPhone 5 will not be available in large quantities when it ships on September 21. Thursday afternoon, MarketWatch provided a brief update on the display shortage, which may be at the heart of Apple's troubles. According to the report, engineers from both Apple and Foxconn's parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry, were required to help Sharp in its production efforts. Though Apple has yet to name its suppliers, Sharp is believed to be the manufacturer of the iPhone 5's new display. With Apple and Foxconn's help, Sharp is expected to operate at full capacity in October.
Prior to the iPhone 5's unveiling this week, demand for the new device had reached an all-time high. Still, it is not yet known if the device will be able to top sales of the iPhone 4S, which is currently Apple's fastest-selling product. In one quarter alone, the iPhone 4S sold 37 million units.
Thus far, analysts have been very optimistic about the new device's potential success at retail, estimating that it could sell as many as 10 million units by the end of September.
Apple's success could dwindle in the years to come, particularly as the gap between competing smartphones continues to narrow. Samsung, Apple's chief competitor, outsold Apple during the last quarter. Sales of the Galaxy S III, Samsung's flagship phone, are on the rise. This could help the company compete -- and cut into Apple's sales -- at a time when the iPhone 5 is expected to dominate.
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