updated 12:04 pm EDT, Thu October 10, 2013
Abundance of units causing gray market price drop
Apple is halving production of the iPhone 5c from 300,000 units per day to 150,000, reports say. No reason for the shift has been given. While Apple could simply be ramping down from launch-level production figures, it may also signal that stocks of the phone are overabundant. The latter idea may be supported by changes in the Chinese gray market.
5c units smuggled into mainland China from the US, Europe, and Hong Kong are now selling for anywhere between 3,000 and 3,300 yuan ($489 and $539), about 30 percent less than the official Chinese retail price. In some cases prices have dipped even further, to as low as 2,600 yuan. In-demand phones will often sell above retail costs.
Apple has had very few problems supplying the 5c to the public. While there were shortages of some models during launch weekend, Apple quickly bounced back, and now any color or model is shipping within 24 hours in the US. The iPhone 5s, conversely, is still in short supply online and at retail. At Apple's US online store, the device is only shipping in a vague "October" timeframe.