Analyst: iPhone 5 demand not hit by 'Map-gate' concerns

Claims by some that Apple's new iOS 6 Maps app isn't as good as the old Google Maps app isn't putting a dent in iPhone 5 sales, claims an analyst.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Claims that Apple's new iOS6 Maps app might not be up to scratch, which became volatile enough for chief executive Tim Cook issue an apology, is not putting a dent in demand for the new handset, claims Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu.

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"Despite well-publicized concerns with its new Maps app, we have not picked up changes in supply chain build plans," write Wu. "Demand appears robust with its online store quoting a lead time of 3--4 weeks".

Wu also praises Apple for how it has handled 'Map-gate,' claiming that the company took a "head-on" approach to the problem by referring those who have problems to use third-party maps. Apple's goal, according to Wu, "is to produce the best user experience possible and as a leading platform, third-party support is essential".

Wu also claims that display shortages, which may have been responsible for Apple 'only' selling 5 million units over the launch weekend, have eased off.

"We are seeing improving yields on in-cell touchscreens meaning it is becoming less of a constraint," Wu wrote in an analysts' note.

With the introduction of the iPhone 5, Apple switched to a new display technology called in-cell screen technology. This takes the display and the touch sensor and integrates it into a single unit. This technology makes the overall display thinner, but it also makes it a little more expensive to produce. It's also new technology, and this means that the displays are more difficult to make, with yields being lower than expected because of defects.

While the display is no longer limiting production, there are other issues that might be putting a kink in Apple's supply chain. Manufacturing the baseband that incorporates 4G LTE wireless capability into a 28-nanometer fabrication process so as to make it as power efficient as possible, along with aluminum and glass casing, could also be bottlenecks to rapid production of the new handset.

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