Retailers have barracked Apple for Friday's launch of its latest devices, accusing the manufacturer of constraining supply of the more popular 5s in order to drive sales to the 5c.
Apple was criticised for its heavy-handed approach to pre-orders, stopping consumers securing a 5s handset early. Retail sources told Mobile that they felt the manufacturer was doing this in order to encourage sales of the 5c, the first Apple iPhone to feature a plastic shell. One said: ‘It’s a cheaper product to produce so Apple will make more money from it.’
Consumer demand appears to be greater for the pricier 5s, with its prices starting from £549. One retail source said: ‘This is the first time Apple customers have been given a choice of products and they are perhaps unsure of what they want. The 5s sounds more familiar after the launch of the 4s. But there is not as much of an appetite for the 5c. Samsung will not be losing any sleep.’ Another added: ‘The 5c feels like a more expensive version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4.’
The lack of availability of the 5s for preorder as well as supply has been a particular bone of contention. The device is expected to sell out quicker than previous iterations of the iPhone and retailers are frustrated that they will be blamed by disappointed consumers. One said: ‘If it had been made available to us, of course it would have been available for preorder. It’s a complete no-brainer.’
Retailers have traditionally had a difficult relationship with Apple, with the manufacturer demanding better marketing support from operator and retail partners last year to back the launch of the iPhone 5.
The 5c and 5s were unveiled earlier this month. The handsets, which have a faster processor and improved camera, received the now customary response that they did not represent a significant step forward from previous iPhones.
One retailer said: ‘This is something we say every year but in its defence, I don’t think Apple gets enough credit for the beauty and simplicity of its operating system. When most people buy an iPhone, they stay with it because it’s so easy to use. That’s not something you necessarily get with Android, even now.’
Author: Graeme Neill