Gold glitters for Apple as iPhone 5s sells out in Europe
European technology fans lined up on Friday as the iPhone 5s and 5c finally went on sale in a number of countries across the globe, including the European markets of France, the UK and Germany.
The gold iPhone 5s is reportedly in short supply.
Asian and European consumers were the first to get their hands on the devices, while U.S. consumers had to wait for their later shop-opening times. Early signs are that demand is skewed towards the higher-priced 5s, and the Wall Street Journal noted that several stores quickly sold out of 5s models.
Silver and gold versions of the 5s have also proved to be popular, with both the Frankfurt am Main and London stores selling out, leaving just the black version available to customers. The Journal said Apple has already asked its suppliers to increase production of the gold-coloured 5s, which has been in extremely strong demand in China and Hong Kong. The gold iPhone 5s is now listed with an "October" shipping date in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia online stores, while all the other colors currently have one-to-three and seven-to-ten day delivery estimates, according to The Verge.
The lowe-end 5c seemed to be the less popular choice, and consumers clearly think the price is not low enough to justify choosing the so-called "low-budget" version over the 5s.
"I prefer to buy the better one, not because it is more expensive, but because of the speed, the display, the finger scanner," Noah Green, a 17-year-old London student waiting outside Apple's flagship Regent Street store, told the Guardian.
Indeed, iPhone prices remain high, although investors and analyst--not to mention consumers--had been hoping for a little more variety in Apple's pricing. There are some concerns that Apple is not differentiating itself enough from rival models based on the Android operating system, and some analysts have expressed fears that Apple could eventually become a niche player in the market, the Guardian commented.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek this past week ahead of the start of sales of the new phones that the company never had an objective to sell a low-cost phone.
In the UK, prices for the 5c start at £469 ($751) without a contract, just £80 less than the 5s. According to the Guardian, UK network operators have reported lower pre-orders for the 5c-- the only one of the two devices to be available for pre-ordering--compared to the earlier iPhone 5, while demand is high for the 5s.
The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c were launched in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK on Friday. Apple said it would be selling iPhones in 100 countries and more than 270 mobile carriers by the end of the year.
Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst for KGI Securities in Taiwan, told the Journal he estimates that total iPhone shipments will top 35 million units in the third quarter--which would be a 30 per cent increase over the same time last year--and rise to 55 million in the fourth quarter.
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