Apple again said to be trimming iPhone 5C production

NPD DisplaySearch says Apple's trimming production of the iPhone 5C, while bolstering production of the higher-end iPhone 5S.

The iPhone 5S and 5C.
The iPhone 5S and 5C. CNET

Following multiple reports in recent days claiming Apple's trimming iPhone 5C production, comes another.

Citing supply chain checks, NPD DisplaySearch on Friday said that Apple has trimmed iPhone 5C production by 35 percent, while boosting production of the pricier iPhone 5S by 75 percent to catch up with demand.

To recap, the iPhone 5C is basically last year's iPhone 5, but with a colorful plastic back and slightly different cellular antennas. The iPhone 5S is the company's new top-of-the-line iPhone, with a 64-bit processor, new camera, and dual-LED flash, along with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the home button.

Both devices went on sale last month and led to record-breaking opening weekend sales. Between the two, the 5S has been tougher to come by, with new buyers facing several weeks of wait time through Apple's online store and with carrier partners, while there's no waiting on the 5C.

Adding to its figures, NPD says Apple misfired with the iPhone 5C's launch timing in China, releasing the device when many shoppers were expecting deep discounts from local carriers, which had to pick which phones to subsidize.

"If Chinese carriers allocated a higher subsidy to new iPhone 5C subscribers, they would have less to subsidize other brands' devices," NPD analysts Tina Teng and Shawn Lee wrote. "Perhaps Apple miscalculated the launch timing, considering they were aiming at the China market."

NPD's report follows two others that had similar findings. A report from Chinese Web site C Technology last week claimed Apple was cutting the production of the 5C in half. A few days later, The Wall Street Journal -- citing sources -- said Apple was trimming 5C orders with two of its suppliers by as much as a third.

Sales of both devices and consumer interest in the 5C are expected to be a hot topic during Apple's call with Wall Street analysts on October 28 when the companyreports its fourth-quarter earnings.

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