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A Supply Bottleneck Hurts iPhone 5 Sales

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All three screen suppliers report problems and delays.

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Apple is still in a good position, though. IHS ISuppli senior principal analyst Tom Dinges, who also believes the supply constraints had an impact on Apple's sales numbers, stated that the bottleneck for the component parts may end soon. In his view, Apple has "a problem that everybody else would love to have." He highlights that Apple is its suppliers' "best customer," and Apple has made sure that it receives the parts first from its producers. As a result, "Apple is going to get a disproportionate amount of the available supply."

Barclays projects that Apple will sell 45.2 million iPhones in the December quarter and 170.7 million through next September.

Apple faces potential bottlenecks at other points in its supply chain as well. According to Bloomberg, baseband chips, which allow phones to connect to Long Term Evolution (or LTE) networks, have not been produced as quickly as originally expected. Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), the largest chip maker for mobile phones, has so far underdelivered the amount of baseband chips Apple requested because it has switched to a new manufacturing process to build them. CEO of IFixit Kyle Wiens said that Qualcomm "may not be able to meet Apple's order."

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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