Why is there an iPhone 5s shortage?
It's not unusual for a new Apple iPhone to be in short supply. Apple is the master of building anticipation prior to the announcement of its products. And the very nature of smartphone ownership combined with the cyclical calendar of iPhone announcements means that lots of existing iPhone owners wait for the new model before they upgrade. So demand is super high, and Apple's strict maufacturing standards mean it uses only a limited number of suppliers.
It's also entirely possible that Apple deliberately throttles the supply chain to increase demand. If you are reading this the chances are you are trying and failing to buy an iPhone 5s. Let's put that in context: you want to spend money on an expensive consumer item, you have the money, and yet you cannot make the transaction because there aren't enough to go around.
That is an extraordinary situation, and one that is almost entirely in Apple's favour. A sense of exclusivity and rarity means you are much more likely to buy a more expensive model if that is all that is on offer, for example. That means more profit for Apple. There's also no expensive stock lying in stores - one of the reasons Tim Cook got the top job at Apple was because Steve Jobs loved the way he ground down the supply chain to just two days from manufacturer to customer. This saves Apple money: nothing is wasted.
More important are the promotional and psycological aspects. Rarity implies value. It creates a story, and a desire. The rarest of them all is a golden iPhone, for goodness sake: Apple is one step away from offering a tour of a chocolate factory with every handset. And the longer you can't get one and you talk about it, the more you are promoting Apple's product.
How to get iPhone 5s in the UK: the bad news
There are no shortcuts. There's no secret stash of golden iPhone 5ses that you can find if only you know the password. I've looked around every possible outlet and they are all saying 'October' or '28 October' as an estimated delivery date. Given that we are in October, this is less than helpful.
But the supply lines will run through soon. You will be able to get an iPhone 5s within the next few weeks, and we have 5 tips for getting hold of an iPhone 5s quickly. For more advice see our piece: iPhone 5s: availability, UK pricing.
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