updated 04:10 pm EDT, Tue September 17, 2013
Some retailers seeing no iPhone 5s, 5c issues likened to tangerine iMac
Reports have begun to surface of very low expected stock of the Apple iPhone 5s at multiple US carriers' retail locations, in addition to low stock at Apple retail stores. The iPhone 5c and 5s will go on sale at all of the iPhone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, with spot checks by MacNN showing minimal expected inventory of the 5s, and some retail stores having not yet received any of the sought-after iPhone 5s at all, with none expected before Friday.
One carrier source told AllThingsD that "we will have grotesquely unavailable inventory," with a second source complaining of low shipments from Apple, but also reporting less customer interest in the device than they were expecting. Of the 11 AT&T and Sprint stores polled by MacNN, a total of 18 units of the 5s are expected between all of the stores, with half arriving at one high-volume store. Fifty percent of the stores queried are expecting no inventory of the 5s at all for launch.
One retailer we spoke with expressed concern at the future color inventory levels of some models of the 5c, but declined to mention which color had seen lower preorders. "It's not a big problem right now, but in a few months, we're going to have a bunch of one color and not be able to keep the white one in stock" we were told. The manager remarked that the inventory was likely going to be similar to his previous experience at a "large box electronics retailer" when his company was stuck with a large number of Tangerine slot-loading iMacs.
Apple has not released pre-sale figures for the iPhone 5c, with Cupertino making no preorder process for the high-end iPhone 5s available whatsoever. Apple has declined comment on either the iPhone 5c or 5s stock levels available at retail.