Several analysts have suggested that the iPhone 5's supply constraints could negatively impact Apple's quarterly earnings, with the world's most valuable company (and the world's largest hedge fund) due to unveil its fiscal fourth-quarter report next week.
Ever since Apple announced the smartphone on September 12 and then shipped it on September 21, countless reports relating to supply shortages for particular iPhone components have emerged.
Finance firm William Blair said customers have faced "significant delays" for the iPhone 5 since its launch last month. Consequently, the company has reduced its sales estimate for the iPhone for the September and December quarters. It now expects the iPhone lineup to sell 26.5 million units during the fiscal fourth quarter, representing a decrease from its previous expectation of 33 million.
For the fiscal first quarter ending in December, William Blair said it expects shipments to reach 45 million, which is down 1 million from initial predictions.
"Apple's inability to keep up with demand is being amplified by its aggressive global launch schedule and the company reducing its exposure to its traditional partner, Samsung," William Blair analyst Anil Doradla stated.
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty added that the iPhone's commercial performance depends on several outcomes such as timing of shipments and the purported delay of its display production being "major swing factors." She estimates that 25 million iPhones will be sold during the quarter.
Huberty also said she expects Apple's commercial results for the current quarter to be weaker than analysts expect due to iPhone 5 supply constraints, as well as the limited visibility pertaining to iPad Mini shipments.