Apple 5S supplies may be tight over fingerprint sensor

Summary:Yields on Apple's 5S fingerprint sensor may mean fewer units being shipped initially. One analysts says suppliers are cutting build estimates.

Apple's iPhone 5S may be in short supply initially as preorders ramp because of poor yields on its fingerprint sensor, according to an analyst.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said in a research note that there are likely to be supply constraints on the iPhone 5S, the high-end smartphone from Apple. Apple is expected to be able to crank out iPhone 5C devices, which are essentially the iPhone 5 with colorful casing.

According to Misek's checks, suppliers are getting build plan cuts for the quarters ahead. For the Sept. quarter, Misek expects 5 million to 10 million iPhone 5S devices to be built with 20 million iPhone 5C units.

In the calendar fourth quarter, Apple suppliers are expecting 20 million to 25 million iPhone 5S devices to be built, but 15 million more likely. Misek noted that projections were volatile.

Those supply constraints may indicate why Apple is pushing the iPhone 5C as the mass market phone over the higher end iPhone 5S.

Also: CNET hands on: iPhone 5SiPhone 5C |  10 new iOS 7 features for the enterprise  |  iPhone 5c, 5s coming to UK, France and Germany: Pricing and availability revealed  | i Phone 5c not cheap enough for emerging APAC markets

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In a research note, Misek said:

The 5s has few changes vs. the 5 and is using the same process node for the A7 app processor. Our checks indicate that the fingerprint sensor yields have been terrible and are the likely culprit for the H2 build plan cuts.

Like other analysts , Misek questions whether Apple can make an emerging markets play with the iPhone 5C's price. Overall, he cut Apple's iPhone fiscal 2014 unit estimate to 147 million, down from 162 million.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPhone, Smartphones

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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