An older article wrote years ago that I published here since I believe the concept is still relevant.
When a global company introduces a new product into the marketplace, they should have an estimate in mind for the future demand of their product. At that time, knowing how long it will take to produce said product should also be known. Lastly the release date for the product should be derived from those two factors.
If the company in question is Apple, and the product in question is the iPhone 5s, it would be logical to think that Apple has a figure in mind for initial demand. It can also be assumed that Apple knows how much it costs in time and price to produce each unit of the new device, down to the seconds and cents. There are currently many sources around the internet that suggest the 5s will be in extremely short supply as of this writing (http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/reports-indicate-apples-iphone-5s-will-be-short-supply-friday/2013-09-18, http://www.zdnet.com/iphone-5s-reportedly-in-short-supply-for-fridays-launch-7000020793/, http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2013/09/17/apple-iphone-5s-may-be-in-short-supply/).
By the time this post is published, I suspect it will be sold out almost everywhere it has gone on sale. While some sources suggest that this is an intentional move by Apple, I argue that this may be a key miscalculation by an otherwise great operator, Tim Cook. While I believe that this is a big miscalculation, I think the reason(underestimated demand) for it is a good thing for Apple. While it is true that Apple is under pressure, what is also true is that there is a huge demand for their products. What also must be noted is that the initial reviews of the iPhone 5s are stellar in almost every case. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/iphone-5s-reviews_n_3947307.html, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/indepth-review-the-apple-iphone-5s-8822839.html)
I will say first that there are a number of people alleging that Apple intentionally wanted to generate lines at stores to create a wow factor or to purposely sell out in its first weekend, see the last paragraph here: http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2013/09/18/apple-supply-may-constrain-5m-first-weekend-sales-of-iphone-5s-5c-says-piper/).
Just like the soldiers of the Roman Empire, dressed in polished metal, all in a line marching at you, the sheer numbers would make people stop and look, and instill fear in competition. I however dismiss this. Initial sales numbers combining preorder and launch day sales would be higher. While the lines I just spoke of will make people stop and look, they will also make people hesitate from ordering one because it is likely they will feel they will have little chance of getting one in their hands for a while. Add to it, putting the phone out while supplies are initially extremely short leads to increased chances of theft. This would not have occurred in 2011 with people upgrading from a 4 to a 4s, the exterior differences are hardly noticeable. In this case, the bright ring around the home button and the release of the gold phone will make Apples newest model stand out to thieves.
Initially I hesitated to write this article, in the case that Apple would announce a preorder within a few days of product launch. This has not materialized; I think that the 5s being in extremely short supply is a certainty. Preorders were offered to only the Chinese in Hong Kong (http://www.tapscape.com/apple- HYPERLINK “http://www.tapscape.com/apple-iphone-5s-preorders-hong-kong/”iphone-5s-preorders-hong-kong/), those available quickly sold out. Further evidence of this launch day scarcity comes at 13:55 EDT on 9/19/13 (http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/09/19/apples-iphone-5s-and-5c-go-on-sale-in-australia-hong-kong-and-singapore). Shipments to the countries listed in the article in the previous sentence are simply listed as ‘OCTOBER’. It is clear to me, my readers, and will soon be clear to all that the solution would have been a 2-3 week delay in release date to shore up supply. I believe the miscalculation was in the release date, whether this comes back to haunt Apple at this time is unknown, but best of luck to anyone attempting to purchase the phone on release day.
UPDATE: In the USA as of 11:17 PM on 9/20/13, all carriers and all sizes in colors silver and gray are 7-10 days to ship, and gold is listed as ‘October’.