September 16, 2013
See update below. There was a time when iPhones sold out online in just a few hours. That hasn’t happened with the iPhone 5c. In fact, three days after Apple began accepting preorders for their colorful device, subsidy-supported handsets are still available in any color for a Sept. 20 delivery. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple’s less expensive handset isn’t selling well. Rather, it could be a sign that Apple’s supply chain is working on all cylinders. The iPhone 5c is basically the iPhone 5 with a different skin. As a result, Apple has likely been stockpiling the new model for weeks, or possibly, months. To date, all unlocked 16GB iPhone 5c models are sold out, as is the unlocked 32GB model in green. The iPhone 5c first became available for preorder on Friday, Sept. 13. By contrast, we could see significant supply issues with the iPhone 5s, which comes with Apple’s new Touch ID. A number of analysts in recent days have suggested that this new feature could lead to first day supply constraints for the handset. For example, Jefferies’s Peter Misek noted, "Our checks indicate that suppliers have started to receive build plan cuts. We think poor fingerprint sensor yields are the cause." The iPhone 5s launches alongside the iPhone 5c this Friday. However, Cupertino isn’t accepting preorders on the flagship handset. The bottom line: If you’re planning to preorder the iPhone 5c, do so very soon. Yes, supply levels shouldn’t be a problem. However, we don’t know when Apple’s cutoff date will be for guaranteed Sept. 20 deliveries. As for the iPhone 5s, the best way to guarantee getting the model you want is to place an order online soon after sales begin at 12:01 a.m. PDT on Friday. Otherwise, be sure to be in line very, very early at your local Apple retailer. Doors open at all locations at 8 a.m. local time. One final note: While Apple is accepting iPhone 5s orders beginning this Friday, we still don’t know when those first orders will be delivered. The iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s both launch this week in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Are you planning on buying an iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s this year? See also: In Japan, Typhoon Disrupts iPhone Queue As Customers Take Refuge In Apple Store, Apple's iOS 7.0.1, iOS 7.0.2, iOS 7.1 Already Being Tested Inside Cupertino, and Apple Offering iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c Reservations From Sept. 17 In China. Update: All of the unlocked iPhone 5c models are now sold out.