Launch of iPhone 5S, 5C [UPDATE] — Short supply of the new Apple iPhone 5S on its release date has left mobile networks in the UK “frustrated” and “concerned”, says a BBC report.
Similar delays were being experienced in Asia, Australia, and the United States.
Some networks said stock of Apple’s latest premium model, the 5S, was severely limited in the UK, and would leave consumers disappointed.
None of the networks wanted to be identified because of worries they could be disadvantaged when new supplies came in.
Apple responded to media questions by saying it did not comment on stock levels.
Networks said the new iPhone 5C, a lower-cost model and newcomer to Apple’s price range, were plentiful, said the report.
Some industry insiders said they suspected Apple was trying to drive sales of the 5C, but that figures showed customers were hesitant to place orders.
Apple has not allowed customers to pre-order the 5S.
One network spokesman said they had “crates and crates” of the cheaper 5C, but that the premiun 5S was being “drip fed” into the market, and that networks and retailers said they had been left “in the dark” about when Apple would replenish the stock of the 5S.
He added that networks were concerned that customers would be angry at them for the delay, rather than at Apple.
In the U.S., reports indicate similar issues with supply. One network was reported as saying it had “grotesquely unavailable inventory” ahead of the launch date.
In Australia and China, customers buying the 5S directly through Apple are being told to expect at least a seven working day wait.
In Hong Kong and Singapore, customers are being told the 5S is not available until October.
Commentators and analysts have been proposing various theories on the reason for the lack of stock.
Graeme Neill, deputy editor of Mobile, noted that “Apple coming out at midday tomorrow and saying the whole stock has been sold…it’s always in their best interest to sell out within a couple of hours. It’s kind of a win-win for Apple”. Image/Paul Sakuma/AP