Apple's iPhone 5s goes on sale, with gold version reportedly in tight supply

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) high-end iPhone 5s went on sale at retail and carrier stores this morning, with reports emerging of long lines and tight supply for the gold version of the new smartphone.

gold colored iphone 5s

The gold iPhone 5s is reportedly in short supply.

Apple took pre-orders for the lower-end iPhone 5c starting Sept. 13 but refrained from taking such orders for the 5s. Reports indicated earlier this week that supplies of the 5s would be tight. 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 phones also went on sale today in Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, France, and, for the first time as other early markets, in China.

"Demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and we are currently sold out or have limited supply of certain iPhone 5s models in some stores," an Apple representative told AllThingsD. Apple didn't provide details, though the company in the past has released sales numbers after the first weekend of new iPhone availability.

Meanwhile, as customers waited in lines in early iPhone markets to get their hands on the new products, analysts debated whether Apple could top the record 5 million smartphones its sold during last year's iPhone 5 launch, arguing that it will depend largely on the supply of the iPhone 5s.

"It really depends entirely on how good or bad the yields on the 5s are," Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe told Bloomberg. He said Apple could top 7 million in sales if it has enough supply, though "Apple may not even hit the 5 million I predicted last year if the 5s is in really short supply."

Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to unnamed sources familiar with the situation, Apple has asked its suppliers to increase production of the gold iPhone 5s by an additional one-third after seeing strong demand. The report added that it isn't clear whether there are currently supply constraints in manufacturing the new iPhone. Apple faced such constraints in the past; Apple declined to comment, according to the Journal.

Separately, iFixit disassembled a new iPhone 5s and found components from Broadcom, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Skyworks and others.

Apple is selling the 16 GB iPhone 5c for $99 and the 32 GB version for $199 when coupled with a two-year contract. On a no-contract basis, however, the phone costs $549 for the 16 GB model and $649 for the 32 GB model. Many analysts had expected the iPhone 5c to retail for $400 to $500 on an unsubsidized basis, and were shocked that the ultimate price was not lower.

"We never had an objective to sell a low-cost phone," Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek this week in explaining the company's strategy. "Our primary objective is to sell a great phone and provide a great experience, and we figured out a way to do it at a lower cost."

The iPhone 5c prices are only $100 lower than the higher-end iPhone 5s, which will sell for $199 for the 16 GB model, $299 for the 32 GB model and $399 for the 64 GB model, all with a two-year contract. On an unsubsidized basis, the iPhone 5s will sell for $649 for the 16 GB model, $749 for the 32 GB model and $849 for the 64 GB model.

For more:
- see this The Verge article
- see this iFixit tear down
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)
- see this CNET article
- see this separate CNET article
- see this separate AllThingsD article

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