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Reported shortages could make Apple iPhone 5S ‘grotesquely unavailable’

Apple fans may have to get in line even earlier than usual, if they wish to snap up an iPhone 5S on Friday, with reports multiple reports predicting major shortages.

One US-based mobile network told AllThingsD it will “have grotesquely unavailable inventory” for the September 20 release date, putting widespread day-one availability in serious doubt.

Another carrier said shipments from Apple were “extremely disappointing,” while reports from BGR on Tuesday also wanted of “severely constrained” supplies of the iPhone 5S. In its article that site also claimed Apple was plotting the release of iOS 7.1 in October to coincide with the launch of new iPads.

Reports over the weekend had suggested the expected limited availability of the iPhone 5S could be down to low production yields of the brand new Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which will allow buyers to unlock the device and make purchases by touching the new Home button.

If the 5S really is facing chronic supply shortages at retail stores and online, a potentially redeeming factor is the release of the lower-end iPhone 5C on the same day.

Will the colourful new plastic iPhone prove to be a bigger seller than the 5S on launch day? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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