You know the drill: Digitimes, grain, salt.

Today Digitimes re-reports that delays at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) could slow the release of  the iPhone 5S and Apple might ship “only 3-4 million units in the third quarter of 2013 compared to 10 million units as originally planned”. The report follows a similar report (now deleted) without numbers or specifics from July 15th. Of course, Apple CEO Tim Cook has noted on multiple occasions that Apple’s plans are difficult to pinpoint based on supply-chain chatter.

Mass production of the fingerprint sensors was originally scheduled to begin in May at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and then to be packaged at Xintec, a TSMC subsidiary, the sources indicated. However, the production of the sensors has been delayed due to issues related to integration between iOS 7 and fingerprint chips, as well as a low yield rate at packaging firm Xintec, the sources revealed.

An engineering team composed of engineers from Apple and TSMC has been dispatched to Xintec recently to help ramp up the yield rate for the packaging of fingerprint sensors, revealed the sources, adding that the supply chain will be able to start volume production of fingerprint chips at the end of August.

If we do assume the above is true, it is useful to know that the third quarter ends in September 28th here. If Apple announces on September the 10th, and there is a week or two for pre-orders, that’s pretty much a launch week/end’s worth of iPhone 5Ss.  It is also useful to know that Tim Cook noted during an earnings call that new products would be released in the Fall, which starts September 22nd.

It is also useful to keep in mind that Apple is likely going to announce and release value-added iPhone 5C which might drive the majority of new iPhone sales this year.

Finally, these shortage reports before product announcements often turn out to be inconsequential. Apple likely has redundant suppliers for parts and the one leaked above may only be one of the players.

Digitimes also notes production of the iPhone 5S is likely to ramp up to 28-30 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013 thanks to sufficient supplies of fingerprint chips according to their sources.

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Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites.

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