The big headlining feature of the iPhone 5S is believed to be the fingerprint sensor underneath the home button, which could necessitate a new, icon-less sapphire home button. But could problems with the new technology make for a muted iPhone 5S launch?
That’s what supply-chain rumor mill Digitimes is reporting this morning, claiming that a delay in production of fingerprint sensors for the iPhone 5S could make for a meager iPhone 5S launch. How meager? “Only 3-4 million units,” compared to the earlier forecast of 10 million units.
Digitimes rumors always need to be taken with entire teacups of salt, so this doesn’t mean anything. Tim Cook has said before that rumors like this, in themselves, completely fail to reflect the complexity of Apple’s supply chain. In other words, even though some supplier has told Digitimes that they can’t meet Apple’s demands doesn’t mean there aren’t backups in place they don’t know about.
In addition, Digitimes is talking about the third quarter here. When it comes to business dealings, the third financial quarter is summer, and the iPhone 5S is believed to launch in the fall, which is fourth quarter. So all the drama about this story could be totally manufactured.
We’ll see if the iPhone 5S launch is really pinched. My guess is it won’t be as pinched as some past launches. The iPhone 5C will also debut this year to take some of the pressure off of the 5S, which is just an incremental off-year model and not a hot new design. Furthermore, given the way carriers are stomping down on early-upgrades, fewer people will probably be able to get the iPhone 5S exactly at launch than in previous years, anyway.