In a revelation that seems set to shake the technology world to its very foundations, a clandestine Register source has informed us that secretive shiny-stuff behemoth Apple could easily supply more than enough iPhone 5s to meet initial demand: but that it deliberately chose not to.
Our source, known to us only by the codename "Dry Throat", claims to have enjoyed a high level of access to the decision-making process within the mighty gizmo-peddling operation in the run-up to last week's earth-shattering handset announcement.
"Cook and all the top boys were worried," Dry Throat told his Reg handlers, referring to Apple supremo Tim Cook.
"I mean, think about it. There's no Steve: that's not good. How the hell are you supposed to get mass cult hysteria going without the Grand High Warlock?
"Then, look at the damn thing. It's basically a dead ringer for an old Samsung Galaxy, but with a smaller screen. And we really shot ourselves in the foot with 4G. It's a massive power gobbler - and that's going to kind of flag up the fact that we're the only guys who don't let you swap batteries ... basically because we're really insanely greedy.
"So we're left with Mr Dull from Accounts giving a pitch which says 'Hey guys, why don't you buy a Samsung Galaxy, except double price and with really bad battery life and no option to change batteries. Oh, and it costs more. And if you want it with an SD card, you have to buy one built in from us at like five times retail price, and we've chosen not to use an industry standard connector ... basically out of uncontrollable greed, again'
"It's not marketing gold, is it?"
Dry Throat told us that Apple chiefs decided to emphasise a tactic which has always been used in the company's launches.
"Don't let anyone have many," he said. "That way you're not saying, 'hey, buy our mediocre and really expensive offering'. You're saying, 'see this? Over here? Where everyone else is looking? You can't have this'.
"That way if you do get hold of one, you feel really pleased regardless of the fact it's not much good. And if you can't get one, you really want one. It's so simple - but so effective."
Dry Throat pooh-poohed the idea that anything other than marketing lay behind the supposed scarcity of iPhone 5s.
"Come off it, like they couldn't have millions of the damn things ready in advance and just deliver them to the shops - of course they could, people do it all the time with normal products. But if you could just buy one straight off, it wouldn't be special any more, would it? It's not special in itself, it hasn't got anything the others haven't got. If a lot of people actually had one early on, even fanboys might just realise that.
"As for 'shipping dates have moved back two weeks', don't make me laugh. They were probably sitting there in Cupertino saying 'Huh, nobody's buying it - move back shipping dates by a week, that'll get things moving'. In reality there are probably warehouses stuffed full of the damn things all over the world. Sure, your iPhone 'just left China' ... come on. It's been sitting in a warehouse round the corner for a fortnight while you were shivering in the queue outside the Apple Store like a chump. There are Apple guys rubbing handfuls of iPhone 5s against their naked bodies, using them as paperweights, playing iPhone 5 Jenga - while you're standing outside the shop with your nose pressed against the window, you simp.
"I mean, what's next? 'Track the parts of your iPhone, watch as they come together in Shenzhen? Look, it's nearly assembled now - but, o noes! The unpaid slave intern has dropped it and cracked the case - track the replacement case as it moves to the factory by water buffalo ... track the worker as he reports to the motivational centre for corrective electroshock training'
"Some people will believe anything."
As with some of our other clandestine sources, it would seem that Dry Throat may have been embroidering his revelations a trifle at the end there. Nonetheless there would appear to be a core of truth at the heart of the story. ®