iPhone 5 Shortfall? Analysts Blame Display Shortages

on September 25 2012 9:08 AM
iPhone 5
The Apple iPone 5 release could aid the US economy if the sales are as high as analysts expect. IBT

One reason why only 5 million iPhone 5 units were delivered by Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, last weekend was a shortage of new display screens from Asian suppliers, analysts said.

Apple shares fell Monday to $690.79, when the Cupertino, Calif.-based company announced the new sales record, which fell as much as 50 percent below some analysts' estimates, while still beating the initial deliveries for the iPhone 4s.

Analysts such as Peter Misek of Jefferies ascribe the slower deliveries to new in-cell screen technology, which merges display components and touch sensors into only one part. That’s one reason why the iPhone 5 is Apple’s thinnest smartphone.

South Korea’s LG Display Cp. (NYSE: LPL) makes many of the new components, as do Japanese semiconductor giants Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Sharp Corp. (Tokyo: 6753) and Toshiba Corp. (Tokyo: 6502), Misek said, which should mean that Apple should have sufficient supplies.

Earlier this year, Apple made special arrangements to procure the new displays from Sharp in Japan.

Misek said he still expects Apple to sell as many as 8 to 10 million iPhone 5s by the close of its fiscal year next Saturday, and as many as 26 million in the next quarter, once supply chain constraints are eased.

At Barclays, analyst Ben Reitzes said Apple is “struggling” to keep up with demand and should be able to meet demand for 10 million iPhone 5 units by the end of September.

On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was “working very hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer."

Still, Apple may experience other problems, such as labor unrest at factories in China operated by Foxconn, a unit of Hon Hai Precision Industries (Taiwan: 2398), its principal contract manufacturer.

Authorities said they were investigating what caused a riot at a large factory on Monday. All Chinese factories will be closed next week, in observance of China's national day, which observes the founding of the current republic in 1949.

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