Apple may experience shortages of the iPhone 5 after display supplier Wintek reported a defect in some its screens.
The Taiwanese manufacturer is reportedly experiencing a bubble that shows up between the panel and lamination layer of the display only after it has been prepped for assembly, according to DigiTimes. The company did not confirm the report, but said all of its products are shipping on time.
Apple is expected to ship approximately 25 million iPhone 5 devices in the fourth quarter, with Wintek scheduled to supply displays for about 20 percent of them.
Consumer demand for the iPhone 5 is expected to be even higher than usual after Apple bypassed its usual launch window for a new handset in June. Many analysts also expect Apple to release the device on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint — but not T-Mobile — at the same time, which will likely lead to far more customers lining up for the device than any iPhone launch before it.
Extreme shortages of the iPhone 5 may create challenges for Apple. The company’s fourth quarter numbers could be impacted by lighter than expected sales, even if it sells every device it makes. A botched launch of the first major product release since the resignation of Steve Jobs will also reflect poorly on new CEO Tim Cook, who Apple is still looking to assert as a worthy successor.
Most importantly, not having enough devices to satisfy customer demand during the holiday season will likely leave customers unhappy with Apple. The company has stated customers’ happiness is of paramount importance to them, and nothing makes consumers angrier than not being able to get the product they want.
Apple’s iPhone 4 launch was nearly overshadowed by poor execution of the product’s reserve program. In many cases stores took more pre-orders for the device than supply allowed them to fulfill, forcing employees to turn away hundreds of customers who showed up without one.
The release of the iPhone 5 will bring Apple a lot of attention, but the company will have to sort out Wintek’s display issues, or it will be getting publicity for the wrong reason.