One of the Apple iPhone 5S’s most anticipated features may be the very reason that the new handset ships in limited numbers. Issues with the production of the long-rumored fingerprint scanner that is expected to be on Apple’s next-gen smartphone may cause the device to ship in far more limited quantities than initially expected.
To put the situation into context, iPhone 5S shipments in the third quarter were initially expected to be at 10 million units. But Apple’s supply chain partners are supposedly having problems mass producing the fingerprint scanner, according a recent report from Digitimes, so the resulting low yield of the component is expected to cut shipments down by 70 percent to only 3 million units.
The issues stem from integrating iOS 7 with the sensors, as well as a “low yield rate” at the packaging firm, Xintec. Apple has, however, sent an engineering team to Xintec to help increase the yield rate for packaging the fingerprint sensors. With the assistance, the supply chain will be able to begin “volume production” of the component by the end of August and production numbers of the iPhone 5S will increase to 28-30 million by the fourth quarter of 2013, according to inside sources.
This isn’t a completely unfamiliar situation for Apple, however. Last year, when the company released its iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, both devices initially shipped in limited quantities due to part production problems.