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iPhone 5 sales curbed by lack of smashable screens – report

Not because demand is dropping, then?

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Sales of the iPhone 5 on the first weekend of its release were lower than expected because the phone is so innovative, not because customer interest is tailing off, reports newswire Bloomberg.

The iPhone 5 sold 5 million units in its first three days of sale: and while the huge figure is an increase on the 4 million iPhone 4Ss sold in the same time period, it has nevertheless disappointed analysts who were predicting sales of six to 10 million.

Sales were up 35 per cent between the iPhone 4 and the 4S, but only 25 per cent between the 4S and the latest model. Factoring in that the iPhone 5 went on sale in nine countries – as compared to the seven where the 4S was initially sold – the increase is not in line with the sharp growth that Apple has seen before.

Commentators said the fall-off was due to softening consumer demand - but it's more likely to be Apple throttling back on supplies to allow the manufacturers to cope with making the screen - says Bloomberg, quoting a range of analysts.

The screen in the iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter than in the 4S and uses a new technology that strips a layer out of the conventional touchscreen by embedding the sensor tech into the same layer with the pixels. The in-cell touchscreens shave micrometres off the width of the 5, which is only 7.6mm thick.

"Producing in-cell screens is... more painstaking than earlier screen types, contributing to bottlenecks,” Bloomberg said.

It might be financially troubled Japanese manufacturer Sharp that is causing the delays. But it could just be that the screen takes more time to manufacture and that delays are affecting all display providers including LG display technologies.

Tim Cook's statement on Monday announcing that Apple had sold out of its initial supply may suggest Cupertino only ever meant to sell 5 million in its first three days.

Plus: 'Scratches are normal' – Phil Schiller

Though the screen may be made of cutting-edge materials, the back of the iPhone 5 is arguably too prone to being cut by other materials - with reports on the interwebs showing that it is liable to scratching.

The slate-coloured aluminium strip across the back can be scratched easily, we understand:

Apple have so far not responded to complaints about this, but VP Phil Schiller replied to an email - somewhat to the surprise of the 9to5Mac reader who got in touch with him – to say that his new handset was showing scuff marks.

Schiller told the punter:

Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal.

®

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