Why you still can't get an iPhone 5

Sales were strong following the late-September launch of Apple's smartphone. But consumers and carriers are getting antsy about ongoing production delays.

By TheStreet Staff Nov 7, 2012 4:45PM

TheStreet LoGoApple iPhone user © Image Source, Image Source, Getty ImagesBy Chris Ciaccia


Despite early criticism from pundits who asserted that Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 5 was a step back from previous handsets, consumers are still having an extremely difficult time getting their hands on one.

Demand is enormous, and Apple's supplier, Foxconn Technology, is reportedly having problems keeping up with the demand.


"It's not easy to make the iPhones. We are falling short of meeting the huge demand," Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou recently told reporters.


A check with Apple's website confirms the sentiment expressed by Gou; it reveals that three iPhone 5 models (16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB) are back-ordered three to four weeks from carriers AT&T (T), Verizon Communications (VZ) and Sprint Nextel (S).


The iPhone 5 had the fastest-selling launch of any phone in history. Apple sold 5 million of the devices in the first weekend it was available. That number disappointed Wall Street analysts and the media; many were expecting sales of between 6 million to 8 million of the new phones during the debut weekend.


With supplies affected by component constraints, there were concerns Apple would miss Wall Street estimates for iPhone sales in the company's fiscal fourth quarter. The company sold 26.9 million iPhones in the period, as the tech giant missed the analysts' earnings estimates. Apple earned $8.67 per share in the quarter on $36 billion in revenue.

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer expects 80% of Apple's revenue in the holiday quarter to come from products -- most notably the iPhone 5 -- that were launched in recent weeks. Apple is clearly betting big (and rightfully so) on the iPhone 5's popularity, as it projects its first $50-billion-plus quarter in terms of revenue this holiday season.


Despite not having every bell and whistle that fan-boys, bloggers and Wall Street analysts wanted, the newest iPhone is still selling faster than any phone Apple or anyone else has ever made. 


Just try getting your hands on one.


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