One likely reason: in contrast with other iPhone launches, Apple is now selling two new devices. That includes the less-expensive 5C and the higher-end 5S, both of which are a replacement to last year's iPhone 5, which has been discontinued. Yet the 5C is the onlydevice up for presale, with Apple planning to begin sales of the 5S model at 12:01 a.m. PT on Friday, Sept. 20, as well as through its carrier partners.
Another possible reason: iPhone 5C sales may not be as impressive when stacked up against tallies from previous years. An analyst note on Friday suggested Apple was on track for around 1 million iPhone 5C preorders in its first day. That would be roughly half the 2 million preorders Apple reported following its first day of iPhone 5 presales, and closer to the company's total ahead of 2011's iPhone 4S. That smaller figure might not matter all that much if Apple goes on to sell more of both devices in the coming week than it did with last year's model, but certainly makes early comparisons more difficult.
One metric that's made early sales comparisons a bit simpler to get a grip on -- regardless of official numbers -- is availability of the device, which has typically sold out online. For last year's iPhone 5, that took less than an hour to happen. That's not the case with this year's 5C model, which can still be ordered from many places -- including Apple -- with a release-day delivery.
Apple did not respond to a query about whether it plans to announce pre-sales of the device.