Apple said Monday that pre-orders for its iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were in full-swing, without revealing specific numbers. The tech giant said the first weekend sales of new iPhones would smash last year’s record of 10 million units. However, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that the bigger iPhone 6S Plus was facing supply issues.
Radiant more skilled than Minebea
Most U.S. carriers are still promising Sept.25 shipping date for the iPhone 6S. But pre-orders for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus already show delays of 3-4 weeks in shipping. And the shipping issue is not entirely due to higher demand. Kuo said Apple’s supplier is facing production issues with the phone’s backlight hardware. Japan-based Minebea is unable to produce enough backlight for the iPhone 6S Plus.
So, the Cupertino company had to place rush orders for backlight module with another supplier, Radiant. Notably, Radiant has experience supplying backlight module for the iPad Mini. KGI Securities believes Radiant is “more skilled” at producing backlight modules than Minebea. Previously, Radiant was responsible for only 35% to 45% of backlight modules. Now it has reportedly bagged up to 80% of the orders. Kuo said Radiant would supply 4-5 million backlight modules for the iPhone 6S Plus in September.
iPhone 6S Plus to face more severe shortage at launch
Apple said Monday that demand for the iPhone 6S Plus exceeded its expectations. But KGI Securities expects a more severe shortage of the phablet at launch, largely due to production bottlenecks. Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple will have about 1.5 million to 2 million units of 6S Plus ready for shipping on Sept.25.
Though Apple said the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will exceed last year’s first-weekend sales of 10 million units, some analysts have expressed concerns. This year’s rollout includes China in the first wave, which was not the case last year. The new iPhones will initially be launched in 12 countries including China on Sept.25. Last year’s the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus debuted in nine countries, excluding China. And China is one of the top two markets for Apple. So, it’s obvious that this year’s first weekend sales will be higher than that of last year.