November 08, 2012, 3:30 PM — You're facing a three to four week wait if you order an iPhone 5 today, according to Apple's Website. Partly, that's because Apple's manufacturing partner is having trouble keeping up with high demand for the new phone.
A comment this week by Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, is being interpreted by some as evidence that Apple's design for the new phone is needlessly complex, making it hard to manufacture in high enough volumes to meet the demand.
Those constraints may crimp Apple's competition with rival Samsung, whose Galaxy S III smartphone for the first time outsold the iPhone 4S in third quarter 2012, according to a report this week by Strategy Analytics. The Samsung phone was snapped up by 18 million buyers, vs. 16.2 million for iPhone 4S.
"It's not easy to make the iPhones. We are falling short of meeting the huge demand," Gou told reporters after a business forum Wednesday, according to Reuters and other news sites. Foxconn is the trade name for Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which manufactures the iPhone and other Apple products at factories in mainland China.
The Wall Street Journal reported Gou as saying Foxconn is shipping "far fewer" phones than Apple has requested. "Market demand is very strong, but we just can't really fulfill Apple's requests," Gou said. Some of the quality standards can't be met "due to design-related production difficulties," according to the article (which is behind a paywall but accessible via Google News).
"The scarcity of the phones has been weighing on Apple's share price as well, as investors are concerned Apple may not be able to meet consumer demand in the near future, weighing on its earnings," according to the Journal story.