Bad News if You Want the New iPhone 5S

Oh God, not more bad news for Apple. Or, wait... is it?

With three days to go before iPhones begin shipping, multiple carriers are reporting a "grotesquely low" stock of their coveted iPhone 5S models. The Cupertino-based company has been flailing of late, what with stocks dropping, a lukewarm response to its brand-new models, and sharp criticism that the company lost its edge when it lost Steve Jobs. Naysayers have leapt on this latest news as proof that Apple is dangerously out of touch with the industry, and grievously unprepared for its own launch date.

This isn't the first time this has happened. The iPhones 5, 4S, and 4 — so, you know, pretty much every model — saw shortages after their launch date, too, with the company's stocks plummeting after wannabe iPhone 5 owners couldn't get the phones they'd bought for up to a month. The last incident was the worst: because the last iPhone had been "difficult to assemble," claimed production facilities, they had taken a while to make and deliver to the gazillions who wanted it.

But a "grotesque" shortage before the fun's even begun? Remember: this is Apple we're talking about. Apple, whose attention to detail is unparalleled — an unflinching trait that acted as a launch pad for their crowning success. Apple, who has long been celebrated for the quick and unparalleled turnover of its stock, and who you think would have learned something from the backlash against the iPhone 5 shortage. Apple, who regards missing a beat the same way other companies think about tossing their own stock in the ocean.

It could be that Apple is sending most iPhone stock to its stores rather than carriers, meaning that customers will have to line up outside a flagship to get their phones — which is far from bad press for the company. It could be AllThingsD, who reported the news, is misinformed. But probably not. "We will have grotesquely unavailable inventory," at least one carrier told the site, and an earlier BGR report backed them up. Which begs the question: could Apple benefit from its own "mistake?"

Not getting the product you've bought should just piss everybody off, right? Well, yes — but it'll also up the ante in terms of exclusivity. The only thing Apple devotees want more than an iPhone 5S is an iPhone 5S they're not allowed to have. And with all the terrible press the iPhone has been inviting, Apple could really do with a boost to its "exclusive" image. Could do with a boost, in general — and the image of customers lining up for one of the very few iPhones available will probably do just that.

Yes, running out of stock makes Apple look bad. (It's been reported that issues with the brand-new fingerprint sensor has "led" to the shortage.) But it'll also look like customers have bought so many iPhone 5S phones that criticism hasn't in any way led to a downfall in actual sales — and by the time Apple actually has to disclose its quarterly sales report, the priceless "Don't worry, everyone's buying iPhones!" word-of-mouth will already have taken hold.

I mean, we're just sayin'...