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Unsold iPhone 5c units estimated at over three million, sources claim

updated 12:46 pm EST, Thu March 6, 2014

Repackaged iPhone doing poorly next to iPhone 5s

Due to poor sales, unsold inventory of the iPhone 5c has amassed to more than three million units, anonymous Taiwanese supply chain sources claim. Production of the phone is said to have been cut completely towards the end of 2013. Regardless, manufacturer Pegatron allegedly is said to have two million or so units in stock, with the remaining phones being held by carriers and distributors.

Apple announced sales of about 51 million iPhones in its last quarter, but it's believed that the vast majority of these were 5s units. The sources suggest that the 5c is being crippled by higher-than-expected pricing, and a four-inch display, which (while the same dimensions as the iPhone 5s) is as much as an inch smaller than some of its rivals. The phone is essentially an iPhone 5 repackaged in plastic-on-metal casing, but with slightly better battery and cellular features.

The company may be working on not one but two bigger iPhones for launch this fall. One is rumored to measure over 4.5 inches, while the other may exceed five inches. The smaller of the two may be intended as a replacement for the 5c.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    I'm not choosy. If Apple sold them unlocked for cheap enough, I'd buy one to replace my 3gs. But it'd need to be in the range that a 4s sells used: $200-250.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    I love all these "sources" who are afraid to identify who they are and who gave them the information. Of course, AAPL was up early then started a steady drop. Wonder what will happen when another "source" says something different.

  1. jdonahoe

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 07-05-06

    I own Apple stock, but I cringed when I heard how much Apple was going to charge for the 5c. I wonder how popular they would have been if Apple had initially priced them an extra $100 cheaper. We'll never know, because the media has tainted them as failures.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by jdonahoeView Post

    I own Apple stock, but I cringed when I heard how much Apple was going to charge for the 5c. I wonder how popular they would have been if Apple had initially priced them an extra $100 cheaper. We'll never know, because the media has tainted them as failures.

    They're selling better than the previous mid-range phone (the 4S) was, at the same price and the same time in the yearly release cycle. Why should Apple have priced them cheaper?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Let's do some math. Apple sells about 20% fewer iPhones in the 1st calendar quarter (fiscal Q2) than during the holiday quarter.

    Apple sold 51 million iPhones last quarter, so they'll probably sell around 40 million this quarter.

    Since we're out to make Apple look as bad as possible, Let's assume that about half of those are 5s, with the remainder being split between the 5c and the 4S.
    This would put the 5c at about 10 million for the quarter, so 3 million is about a month's worth of inventory.

    However, considering how long they take to ship into stores, and considering that those numbers are probably not accurate (I'm willing to bet that the 5c is outselling the 4S at least 2:1), we're talking two weeks or so of inventory.

    The real news is that the 5s is selling FAR better than expected.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    I'm inclined to agree with Spheric as usual on his analysis, but I think a big reason for that (and thus the relatively lesser performance of the 5c) is also Apple's fault: the iPhone 5s has several VERY significant advances over the 5/5c, but only costs $100 more.

    Either the iPhone 5c should have been $50-100 cheaper, or the 5s should have been $100 more. This would have created more of a tier between the two, instead of what's happened: customers have stretched their budget to accommodate the obviously better iPhone.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    And with T-Mobile and other carriers allowing folks in on full iPhone 5s, 4G goodness for about $75 a month, as apposed to about $65 a month for the iPhone 5c, the choice is a no-brainer.

    People simply opted for the "better" phone overwhelmingly because the difference was negligible.

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