by Joe White
October 19, 2013
Following claims made earlier this week, another publication now argues that Apple has indeed reduced production of its iPhone 5c handset. The news comes from NPD DisplaySearch, and reached us from AllThingsD. In a report published recently, the research firm argues that Apple has reduced iPhone 5c production by 35 percent, while increasing production of the more successful iPhone 5s handset by 75 percent. NPD analysts Tina Teng and Shawn Lee explain one potential reason for the iPhone 5c's poor sales:
Rumors about iPhone 5c being ‘cheap’ were circulating as early as Q3 2012. The fact that the iPhone 5c is nearly identical to the iPhone 5 — and is not cheap — disappointed some consumers.Indeed, in our own investigation, we theorized that this, combined with the fact that Apple's iPhone 5c is essentially an iPhone 5 in new colors, could instead persuade prospective customers to avoid the handset. As my colleague Bryan Wolfe put it:
Apple squarely placed the iPhone 5c in midtown, even though many expected it to be in the low rent district. As a result, the folks that like buying freebie phones are looking the other way, or rather, staying put. In the case of Apple buyers, this means buying the 2-year-old iPhone 4s, not the iPhone 5c. Also worth noting is the 32GB iPhone 5c is priced at $199 with a two-year contract. Looked at another way, this is the same as the least expensive iPhone 5s model.Overseas, the situation is even in worse. In China, for example - a one-time key market for the iPhone 5c - Apple's colorful handset costs more than the average monthly wage. However, AllThingsD reminds readers to keep an open mind, at least for now, when it comes to iPhone 5c sales: "supply chain production volume rumors sometimes aren’t the best information on which to gauge iPhone sales," John Paczkowski notes. He also cites Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook, who said back in January: "I’d recommend questioning the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans. I’d also stress that even if a particular data point were to be factual it would be impossible to interpret what it really means to our business. Our supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for our components. Yields can vary, supplier performance can vary. There’s just a long list of things that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what’s going on." That being said, it's no surprise, of course, that NPD DisplaySearch envisages an increase in iPhone 5s sales. Despite being a midterm upgrade, demand for the handset proved to be huge over launch weekend, and getting hold of an iPhone 5s now - almost one month after the smartphone launched - is still reportedly difficult. One recent report even claimed that sales of the handset would have been greater, if not for purported iPhone 5s supply constraints. As we move towards the holiday season, increasing iPhone 5s production, then, would indeed seem a smart move. Though it could rather be that this year's No. 1 gift is Apple's iPad 5 or iPad mini 2, both of which are set to be announced at a media event scheduled for Oct. 22. See also: Google's Hangouts iOS App Says Hello To Voice Calling And Other New Features, Apple Sued Over Automatic Downloading Of iOS 7 Install File To Holdout Devices, and Today's Best Apps: Crowman & Wolfboy, Ghost Toasters And ARC Squadron: Redux.