Component shortage reportedly limiting iPhone 4S supplies

Nov 30, 2011
Finance

At least one analyst is advising investors that supplies of the iPhone 4S are going to continue to be limited through the holiday season, citing low supplies on a “key component” in the device. Apple Insider has the story, in which analyst Ashok Kumar of Rodman & Renshaw explains in a note to investors to […]

At least one analyst is advising investors that supplies of the iPhone 4S are going to continue to be limited through the holiday season, citing low supplies on a “key component” in the device.

Apple Insider has the story, in which analyst Ashok Kumar of Rodman & Renshaw explains in a note to investors to expect constrained iPhone 4S supplies through 2012, even as demand for the device remains very high. Kumar didn’t explain what the component was that is supposedly keeping iPhone 4S supplies low, however.

Kumar pegs the number of iPhone 4S units he expects to be sold in the last quarter of 2011 to be around 30 million, which he expects to come in below Wall Street expectations. Apple has had trouble meeting all the demand for the iPhone 4S even since it launched in the U.S. It has been reported that customers have been forced to wait weeks to receive the devices. AT&T and Sprint customers were said to have waited around three weeks, while Verizon customers had to wait as much as a month after the phone’s October 14 launch date to receive it.

Even so, demand for the iPhone 4S hasn’t slowed. All three U.S. carriers reported record pre-sales for the devices and Apple itself said it had sold 1 million units in the 24 hours after the device was released. Through October and much of November, customers were waiting for the iPhone 4S mostly because so many people wanted one.

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Kumar also had a few other things to say on Apple’s smartphone handset. Currently, Apple holds 85 percent of the “premium” smartphone market, which Kumar believes is probably the peak of its performance. Instead, he expects more growth to happen in smartphones at the other end of the spectrum, with lower-priced handsets. He said in his note to investors that Apple needs to consider a lower-cost “purpose-built” device, although he also said that other smartphone makers don’t really have anything to compete in that sphere.

Apple does have something of a lower-cost iPhone model in the iPhone 3GS, which is currently available for 99 cents when users enter into a two-year contract with a cellular carrier. It’s also doing pretty well. As Apple Insider points out, the 3GS was the top-selling smartphone in the U.S. after the iPhone 4 in the third quarter of 2011, according to the NPD Group. That put it ahead of Android device makers such as HTC and Samsung, and head of Nokia, a long-time handset leader.

Despite reports of low supplies of the iPhone 4S, we’ll have to see how Apple’s devices actually fare during the holiday season. Expectations and demand for the 4S are still pretty high going into 2012; we’ll have to see if Apple has adequately prepared for the holidays.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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