Why isn’t Apple allowing pre-orders for the iPhone 5s?

By , Sep 12, 2013

Gold iPhone 5s top of the screen

In just about 4 hours, retailers around the globe will begin taking online pre-orders for the new iPhone 5c. And from then until Monday afternoon, tech watchers will be holding vigilant for any kind of word from Apple confirming the handset’s success.

At least the company will have a clear picture of its performance this weekend, because as most of you know, it’s decided not to make its flagship iPhone 5s available for pre-order. Folks will have to wait until next week to purchase the device online or in-store.

Of course, Apple hasn’t offered any reason for why it’s decided to go this route. But as you can imagine, there are a number of theories floating around the web. And on the eve of the 5c pre-order launch, we thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of them…

The most prominent postulation, and perhaps the most likely, is that Apple isn’t offering iPhone 5s pre-orders due to supply constraints. There were several reports leading up to this week’s event claiming that the 5s’ Touch ID was causing production issues.

Touch ID hardware

Here’s a report from DigiTimes back in July:

“Poor yields of fingerprint-recognition chips and LCD driver ICs will likely force Apple to reduce first-quarter shipments of the rumored iPhone 5S, which is slated for launch in September 2013, according to industry sources.

Volume production of fingerprint-recognition and LCD driver chips for the iPhone 5S should have started at the end of June or early in July, but issues related to yield rates will delay commercial production of the two chips to the end of July, therefore affecting the initial supply of the iPhone 5S, the sources explained.”

And the outlet reiterated the report in August.

Looking at this video on the fingerprint sensor, it’s not hard to imagine that it’s difficult to make on a large scale. There’s so many complex components that have to fit into a small space, it would surprise no one if this was the reason behind the lack of 5s pre-orders.

Another popular theory, though, is that Apple chose not to put the handset up for pre-order as a way of encouraging folks to line up outside of retail stores next week. Nothing grabs headlines more than long launch lines, and no one knows this better than Apple.

media-in-front-of-Apple-store

This one is a little bit harder for me to believe, because putting up big pre-order numbers can also net you media attention. For instance, when Apple announced last year that it received over 2 million iPhone 5 pre-orders in the first 24 hours, its stock crossed $700.

But obviously this is all just speculation on my part, and we’ll likely never know the real reason. Maybe it’s simply that Apple wanted all consumer attention on the iPhone 5c for the first week, since the lower-cost, plastic handset is a bit of an experiment. Who knows?

At any rate, iPhone 5c pre-orders are set to begin tonight at 12:01 am PST. For more information on that, click here.

Why do you think the iPhone 5s isn’t available for pre-order?

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • Tom Brady

    I sure wish they had let us pre order the 5s.

    • Alex Marwaha

      I am your biggest fan. No joke.

      • Manuel Molina

        If you think that’s Tom Brady, then I’m Steve Jobs just with a different name so people won’t know I’m alive and have an iPhone 7 with me right now.

      • Guest

        Steve Wozniak here. I can confirm this.

      • dan

        calm ur tits

  • J Wu

    I don’t see the demand for the 5s to be anywhere close to the demand for iPhone 5. Most people who want one will probably get their hands on one.

    • Jimothy

      I think they might be on the more prepared side of things with the influx they saw of iPhone 5 preorders.

    • Cameron Chao

      that has always been the case with every single iPhone.

    • Maxim∑

      It will be, most 4S users who plan to stay with Apple will be updating to 5S. I would expect 5 million orders again in 48hr.

      Judging from youtube views on Apples channel the 5S is a lot more liked and popular than the 5C

      • Kurt

        I’m one of the many 4S users jumping ship to Android. Note 3 for me and the wife. You should join us. only sad part is the app selection :(

      • James

        thats a pretty significant part.

      • imageWIS

        “You should join us”

        And why should we join you?

      • mehrab

        Apps
        Fragmentation
        Amoled ew
        Performance i think will be good but not as good as the 5s but battery will be much better then the 5
        Better camera better features on the 5s too and also better design. Free customization on the note 3. Well i hope you have a good expirience good luck.

  • iamtomchang

    They want to get customers to come into the Apple Store to purchase the phone. There’s been a big push in recent months to garner more iPhone sales within their retail stores rather than to cellular or big box stores.

    • James

      they’ll still be sold at all the other retail stores so i don’t think that is why.

  • J M

    What about any possibility of trying to get people to buy into the iPhone 5c instead to boost Apple’s success with the device? If you make the iPhone 5c the only pre-order available, maybe people who are more indifferent or on the fence, bend to that one instead.

    • Kaptivator

      Good point. However, many will wait it out for what they want and not settle.

  • Daniel Beecham

    i think its because they have all the China people working there ass of for apple to have enough iPhone 5s for Pre-Order!!!!

    • batongxue

      There are 1.3 billion people in China.

      • jsean

        Times that by 3

      • mehrab

        To think thaat both the iphones are on chinese carries they will sell like hotdogs

    • John

      …and I think you’re just a racist git.

    • James

      that makes no sense.

  • Lance Baker

    I wish I could pre-order the 5s. I can upgrade on the 22nd so hopefully my local Best Buy will have it in stock still. I’m betting the 64GB won’t be the most popular.

    • James

      yeah you’ll be good.

    • imageWIS

      Most likely.

  • steelblued

    All 5s are shipped to carriers

    • madmaxmedia

      That might very well be the case if supply is constrained. In which case they might delay pre-orders for the 5s. I think there is probably some reason forcing their hand, to willingly choose to delay availability of the higher-priced model seems unlikely.

  • chumawumba

    Obviously a publicity stunt

    • Maxim∑

      No maybe they dont have enough inventory

      • John

        Wasn’t there reports that there was stock constraints due to a faulty sensor or something? You could very well be right.

      • James

        where did you hear that? did you read this blog post or something? ;)

  • Brandon

    This is simply stupid… Why not allow preorders on the device that people want, rather than the device people could careless about. I preordered my 4s 2 years ago to avoid waiting in a long ass line, and I was expecting to be able to do the same this year…

    • John

      I was expecting NFC and a cheap iPhone, I guess we are both disappointed.

      • Brandon

        Very… I mean I expect a certian level from Apple when it comes to their devices, and OS’s, but this was a huge disappointment . They are suppose to lead challenge, and force the the competition to be better now they just seem to be playing it safe. Innovate a little copy mostly… I miss Steve lol.

      • James

        No one’s got a gun to your head.

      • Brandon

        Your comment makes no sense… Yes no one has gun to my head to wait in line you a very astute my dear friend, but unfortunately you miscalculated my ability to not give a crap about your snotty remark and attempt to be witty. Now please comment elsewhere this conversation is for grown ups like me and John.

      • James

        What’s snotty is you complaining that Apple isn’t giving you what you want. So, if you’re that disappointed, maybe you should buy a phone that has what you want.

      • Patrick

        i guess you didn’t hear about samsung copying the 64bit chip in their future phone, so back to your question yes apple is still leading

      • s0me

        show me the article on the korean website… i didnt find it and i bet IDB copied other bloggers with that thats why they disabled the comments

      • Patrick

        it wasn’t on IDB but on the news BBC news app so no its not rubbish and it was kinda obvious that Samsung will soon copy because it copied the whole design of the iphone anyway

      • John

        Also HTC said they would be releasing several gold phones over the next 12 months and slowly will include it as a colour option in future line ups.

      • go_lobos

        What can they really do to innovate at this point? Serious question.

      • John

        Good question.
        3D?
        Holograms?

      • Rowan09

        What is it with NFC why do you want it? No one here in the US i’ve seen uses NFC payments so why does Apple need one in its phone right now? NFC is not a selling point, I only wanted it to make transfers from phone to phone but they have airdrop so I’m good.

      • John

        For the record: I don’t give a shit about NFC. I don’t want it on my phone. If Samsung thing that’s the next big thing, let them, but we know how much NFC has taken off in the last few years its been in all their devices…and on that note, if Samsung is so popular, how come NFC hasn’t actually taken off?

        I was attempting to be sarcastic. The fact we all have expectations and they aren’t met means we are disappointed.

        We were disappointed with the keynote because Apple delivered exactly what was leaked.
        We were disappointed with the price because we WANTED it to be cheaper.
        We were disappointed because the harsh reality is we may not get the phone we WANT.

      • Rowan09

        Got you. I wasn’t disappointed about the 5c because I cared less if it sold for $199-$299 I wasn’t going to get it. I miss the days of being surprise these leaks definitely takes away from being wowed now-a-days. I believe the secret days are over, we’ll always know before it happens.

      • James

        i agree. i want to be surprised – pleasantly.

      • thisisjace

        Airdrop that will work with the Mac, too.

      • John

        Here’s the (surprising) thing. No.
        AirDrop is iOS to iOS, not iOS to OS X.

        At least not in the latest build of Mavericks.

      • thisisjace

        Bummer. Less surprising is that I got erroneous information from our local Authorized Apple Retail and Service Center. (Wish we had an Apple store.)

    • Eduardo Marquez

      Theres a walmart near all of us. Just got pre order it there. Its cheaper there anyway or so i read

  • http://www.iCosmoGeek.com/ iCosmoGeek

    BP! It is just to push iPhone 5c.

    • Mohammad Ridwan

      And make a big splash with with showing more people in line for 5s… lol… Apple sure knows marketing…

  • Brandon

    If your having to push the 5c, and as well get rid of your previous model phone just to make people think about buying it (Oh and make the only other option a 8gb 4s). Well then you might need to go back to the drawing board…

  • iCrunch

    This is BS that we don’t get to pre-order, because it makes it a double-whammy.

    Last time this happened (the 4S I think), I did pre-order the phone on the day it was made available for those who like to stand in lines, which was, as usual, a Friday.

    I want to say that they even shipped it out that day, but the earliest delivery is 3 DAYS later, after the weekend! It’s also more likely that we’ll get it 4 or 5 days later, so now those people wanting to get it the day it’s released will be forced to stand in line for some free PR for Apple. But yes, I suppose that it could be something trivial, such as logistics or whatever, but somehow, I doubt that. Apple operates with laser focus precision.

  • Maxim∑

    It will be available unlocked right away next week which is nice

  • batongxue

    Or maybe they wanna stress the emphasis on the 5c.

  • thetomthebomb

    Awesome ios 7 wallpaper taken with iPhone 5

    • Frozen Bee .GFKS

      funny

  • Preet Patel

    even the apple store is down right now….says we will be back soon

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    It’s just to determine the number of true iSheeps they have. The ones that ignoramusly buy anything that has an Apple logo on it; thus they’ll rush to get the 5c even though they can easily find a similarly priced and more appealing iPhone 5.

    • imageWIS

      Better to have a great device than to be a troll like you.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        It’s better to talk reality than to be an ignoramus follower like you.

  • Rowan09

    Here’s my theory. I think it’s a combination of wanting to see how the 5c does with preorders as a tester and touch IDs supply shortage as stated in the first theory. If there is actually a shortage I would assume doing a preorder would mean less for stores. The seeing people line up theory is dumb if you ask me, Apple has enough news coverage regardless.

    • Nate McKelvie

      You can never have too much good press

      • Rowan09

        I agree but pushing back a phone just for press when everything you do is in the press doesn’t make much sense. People will still purchase it online but I do agree more people may actually line up now. The lining up experience since I did it for the 4 is not bad at all, I was given food and drinks by the Apple store while waiting. I also had some great conversations while waiting so its not all bad. I’m patient after waiting 3 days for a job application, I’ll order it online and wait to get it.

      • Nate McKelvie

        I actually wait in line for each new phone, but it’s because I sell my old phone ( just sold my iphone 5 for $500 this morning ) and also I sell the new phone as presales on eBay from the minute they are announced so I HAVE TO HAVE them

  • iOops

    Apple took a stock hit with the 5c announcement, and I bet they want to prove it will be a success with stellar pre-order numbers. If the 5s was available at the same time, with such a small price difference, it could encourage people to pre-order the 5s instead.

  • Arthur

    It’s cool

  • Jacob S

    RIP Apple! Steve Jobs might be crying now by seeing Cook’s ‘colorful’ innovation! LMFAO

    • Bob

      I doubt Cook does much design wise. I doubt he cares. He doesn’t seem like the kinda’ person who cares much about design. He probably just approves or disapproves the design.

      Steve Jobs had more input in the designing process and you could hear he the passion in his voice by the way he talked at events, he believed in the products.

      • Jacob S

        You are right, after Jobs has anyone seen any innovative product line from Apple? Only considerable change I could see is the re-designing of upcoming Mac Pros. Otherwise, no innovation or new consumable products than “old wine in new bottles”.

        I have a numerous Apple products, I am writing this from a Mac. I guess eventually Apple will run out of ideas unless some one like Jobs takes charge. Otherwise people will steer away from Apple to other products. I already switched my phone to HTC One.

      • twhite6878

        9 million iPhones sold compared to how many HTC Ones? Good luck with your choice. And Viva la Apple.

  • Christopher Rigby

    Fuming! Anybody who has ever had an iPhone won’t be buying a 5c. Well done Apple for shafting your loyal customers who have made you what you are today. I’m seriously considering not upgrading now

    • imageWIS

      You should actually READ the article before posting!

  • Hani Akil

    I feel sad about people who migrates to samsung or any other smartphone they will miss alot

  • Steven Freitas

    They don’t have as many colors to deal with… They need the pre-orders on the “c” to react to what colors are more popular…

  • to86

    Its a tough one to figure out. My best guess is that their supply is constrained so they are trying to push people to get the 5c until the 5s supply has caught up. I really hope not as it will make it almost impossible to get the 5s on opening weekend.

    I won’t be lining up, so will be relying on going Friday evening or on Saturday – hopefully supply lasts until then!

  • richrich

    because if Apple gave people a choice right off the bat, they wouldn’t sell a single 5c.

    • imageWIS

      No.

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    I sure this is Apple way of push the iPhone 5 (5c) on people. When the iPhone 5s pre-order start its gonna over shadow the 5c big time.

  • Louie.

    maybe so people actually buy the 5c first?

  • alabnb

    The reason is that Apple wants people to buy the old-tech and overpriced plastic phone 5C – which has the biggest profit margins for Apple.