Every night for the last week, Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, or one of his co-workers has tried to buy an iPhone 5, logging on to Apple‘s Web site about an hour after the company begins letting people reserve one of the phones for next-day pickup in Apple retail stores. So far they haven’t been able to buy a single iPhone 5 that way.
In some cases, Mr. Munster and his co-workers were able to reserve phones for next-day pickup if they logged on promptly at 10 p.m. But he said their unsuccessful efforts at reserving a phone later were intended to check whether there was sufficient inventory that a more casual customer could obtain an iPhone 5.
“At what point can people walk in and buy phones?” he said. “We’re not close to that.”
The scarcity of iPhone 5s is the main reason Apple’s shares, after bursting through the $700 mark in late September, have tumbled nearly 10 percent over the last several weeks, analysts say. On Tuesday, Apple’s stock closed at $635.85.
Although it’s better for Apple that it appears to be suffering problems of supply rather than demand, both situations result in lost or delayed sales. Analysts who have poked around in Apple’s supply chain believe that the holdup could be the result of a shortage of the new displays that Apple is using in the iPhone 5.
Apple’s online store now shows a shipping delay of three to four weeks for the new iPhone.
The iPhone 5 shortage has largely overshadowed a separate lift that Apple’s sales could get from the release of a smaller, less expensive iPad, which the company is expected to release in the coming weeks. Mr. Munster estimated that 90 percent of his recent conversations with investors have focused on iPhone 5 supply issues.
This article echoes my concerns...