Carrier Claims iPhone 5s Inventory 'Grotesquely Low' for Launch

It's always a guess on how much inventory Apple will have for an iPhone (or iPad) launch, but carriers are saying they will have little inventory for Apple's launch. One carrier source characterized inventory levels for launch day to AllThingsD as "grotesquely low." Another carrier said it was extremely disappointed in Apple's inventory deliveries.

Apple has a history of favoring its own Apple Store retail locations over those of third party retailers and carriers alike. With that track record as a backdrop, hyperbolic language from the carriers for this launch have added weight.

Empty Pockets

TMO's Dramatic Reenactment of AllThingsD's Carrier Source

Supply for the iPhone 5c are better, according to the same unnamed sources cited by AllThingsD. To me, that suggests Apple's motivation for making the iPhone 5c available for preorder without doing so for the iPhone 5s was due to inventory.

I confess I was among those who thought Apple might have been wanting to make a point that it can still generate long lines for its release events.

The question is how many units Apple will have on hand at its Apple Stores, and whether or not what is being characterized as low inventory of the iPhone 5s is because Apple knows everyone really wants the iPhone 5c.

We should note that we don't know how iPhone 5c preorders have been going. Apple began taking preorders on September 13th—in the past, Apple has announced the preorder numbers for the first day or the first weekend, but the company has been conspicuously silent this time around.

Wall Street has taken that to be a tacit admission that preorders are not good, and investors have punished $AAPL in the days since Apple's iPhone media event.

The stock finished better on Tuesday, however, ending the day at US$455.32, up $5.20 (+1.16 percent), on moderate volume of 14.3 million shares trading hands.

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