iPhone 5C supply orders cut: report

Does an order cut from Apple signify the beginning of the end of the cheery, colorful iPhone 5C?

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
The new plastic iPhone 5C at a media event held in Beijing, China.

Cheap, colorful, China were all rumors of what the ‘C’ could stand for in iPhone 5C. Regardless of its distinguishing factor, many people thought the bright, plastic, lower-end iPhone 5C would be the one to change the smart phone world when Apple released two new iPhones in September.

However, according a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, the 5C may not be having the expected impact. According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple has cut orders from 5C suppliers across Taiwan, spurring rumors of poor sales and questions of what this means for the future of iPhone production.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with representatives from Pegatron, Foxconn, and others who reported a decrease in demand for the fourth quarter of 2013. Pegatron’s order was cut by 20 percent, Foxconn’s was cut by 30 percent, and another was cut by 50 percent. Pegatron is the supplier likely to be hit hardest by this news, as the company assembles two-thirds of the 5C units.

In addition, several phone companies and retailers have cut the price of the 5C, including China Telecom and Walmart. On Apple's website, an iPhone 5C can be shipped in just 24 hours – while the iPhone 5S wait is at least two weeks.

This also shows off the inverse sales trajectory between the two iPhones. The iPhone 5S has done quite well, and reportedly Apple has increased its order of the device to Foxconn. The gold model also quickly sold out on first day sales

Why the sales switch? The 5C was not as cheap as many predicted, only $100 less than its feature-heavy, jewel-toned sibling, which may have hurt sales in the emerging markets Apple has been trying to break into.

However, this doesn’t mean the end of the 5C. Companies can edit supplier orders for numerous reasons, including streamlining production or tweaking parts orders.

The iPhone 5C has faced a bit of an uphill battle since it was introduced in September. Despite being available for pre-order (the 5S was not), Apple uncharacteristically did not release pre-order numbers, sparking rumors that the device was not selling well enough to warrant any fanfare. Though Apple sold a record-breaking 9 million devices its first weekend, it did not break down those numbers between the 5S and 5C, also prompting people to guess the sales heft lay in the 5S.

Whether the move is due to sales or streamlining will likely become clear when Apple releases its earnings Oct. 28.

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