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Cook: iPhone 5s supply increasing, Retina mini could see shortages

updated 06:15 pm EDT, Mon October 28, 2013

Apple ramping up iPhone 5s production

Apple is steadily increasing its supply of iPhone 5s units in order to meet demand, but the company will make no promises with regard to availability of the Retina iPad mini. This according to CEO Tim Cook, who made the two revelations today during the conference call for the iPad maker's fourth fiscal quarter conference call. Consumers can expect to see iPhone 5s supply strains softening even as Apple prepares to launch the device in even more countries.

Cook said that, even with the robust worldwide demand demonstrated for the new high-end iPhone, Apple was narrowing the gap with increases in supply.

"iPhone 5s," the Apple chief said, "ended the quarter with a very significant backlog. We still have a significant backlog. However, our supply has been building each week, and we're very confident in our ability to keep ramping."

Apple does not break out individual iPhone model sales in its quarterly statements, but it was the higher-end model that sold out quickly on launch date, while the mid-range iPhone 5c remained in stock. Industry observers noted even before the device's release that production yields on the Touch ID biometric sensor could keep supplies low for the iPhone 5s.

Those predictions appeared to be borne out when Apple had no preorder period for the higher-end device, unlike in previous years. Further support came from the fact that neither the full-size iPad Air nor the Retina iPad mini packed a Touch ID sensor.

As to the new Retina iPad mini, Cook appeared less optimistic as to supply when that device launches in November.

"It's unclear whether we'll have enough for the quarter or not," Cook said about the mini. "We know how many we will have, but, you really don't know the demand until you start shipping."

Cook added, though, that he expects Apple to do "fairly well" in overall iPad sales in the holiday quarter. The coming holiday season, according to Cook, will be "an iPad Christmas."

In the quarter ending September 30, Apple sold 14.1 million full-sized iPads and iPad minis. That figure is up slightly year-over-year, as Apple sold 14 million for the same period in 2012.

by MacNN Staff



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