Apple is not short on iPhone 5s but is likely to be holding them back artificially for commercial reasons, an analyst said today.
Walter Piecyk of Research Group BTIG said that the three to four week delay on online iPhone orders was a commercial wheeze rather than an indicator of throttling in the supply chain.
Piecyk was speaking after comments from Hon Hai chief Terry Gou last week, who maintained that his assembling factories were struggling to produce the new devices quickly enough to fulfill all of Apple's orders.
Piecyk offered little insight into the manufacturing process, but did say that he believes supply and demand for the flagship phone is "in balance" and improving.
The three to four week delivery delays on iPhone 5 orders from the online Apple Store, leading to queues for the device that apparently persist in US shops, are part of a cunning ploy to get fanbois to spend more money instore, the BTIG analyst said.
He maintains that Apple's option to order kit online and pick it up the next day instore proves that Apple is not short of the phones. Also, anyone ordering a phone through a carrier can get hold of one in a week, he said.
Piecyk argues that Apple wants to encourage customers to step into their retail stores, because if they do, they are much more likely to pick up an accessory or two - or even another iOS device.
It's just another example of commercial thinking from Cupertino, he writes:
[...] Long store lines and long ship times generate excitement in the press around new product launches [...] In addition, the ability to purchase an iPhone 5 or iPad Mini the night before on the website for a next day pick-up in the store has been a new and popular strategy.
Sprint’s CFO has noted that the reservation policy has increased the purchase of accessory sales in their stores. Some might suggest this is a focus on profits over customer friendliness, not unlike the criticisms over Apple’s choice to dump Google Maps. Whatever the reason, the ship times and reservation do not appear to be the only way to determine supply constraints and it appears that supply should not be an issue this quarter.
Piecyk adds that Apple is on track to hit sales forecasts of 47.5 million iPhone 5s sold this quarter as estimated by BTIG. The only numbers Apple has released so far are 5 million unit sales in the first weekend. ®
We would like to point out that our sources predicted this some time ago.