Supplies of iPhone 5 is ‘extremely limited’ amid unprecedented demand

Remember the cliffhanger scene in movies: a damsel in distress is tied to railroad tracks ahead of an oncoming train. Will the hero arrive in time to rescue her? That’s a bit like the situation we have with the iPhone 5.

Analysts are trimming their sales forecast of Apple’s new handset due to ‘extremely limited’ supplies and the all-important holiday buying period is bearing down. Can suppliers rescue Apple? Can Apple meet unprecedented demand in time to take advantage of everyone wanting an iPhone 5 in their stocking?

Thursday, high-profile Apple analyst Gene Munster shaved 2 million iPhone 5 from his September sales forecast, estimating Apple will sell 25 million iPhones instead of 27.2 million. The Piper Jaffray analyst pointed to a supply of iPhone 5 that is “extremely limited.” However, Munster figures investors will be rewarded in the December quarter, sticking with his estimate of 49 million iPhones sold.

It is ironic how supplies may be at the heart of this iPhone 5 sales glitch given Apple’s almost obsessively-tight management of its supply chain. However, the Cupertino, Calif. company threw suppliers a curve by introducing a new technology requirement: in-cell displays that melds touch sensors with the screen. But one analyst points to a vast number of mobile subscribers set free from their contracts and migrating en mass to the iPhone.

Some 170 million post paid subscribers have reached the end of their contract, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek told AllThingsD.

“That’s overwhelming all supply ramps. The demand here is unprecedented,” he said. But if Apple can get control of its supply problem and get an iPhone 5 into the hands of everyone who wants one, the December quarter could be the mother of all blow-outs.

What do you think? Can Apple overcome the limited supplies? What lesson was learned from the iPhone 5 supply horror stories?