iPhone 5 pre-order ship date slips two weeks

If you haven’t already pre-ordered your iPhone 5, it’s time to get out your sleeping bag and prepare to wait in line.

Within an hour of orders opening on Apple.com at midnight last night, pre-order stocks were exhausted. Now, all US orders are showing a ship time of two weeks – a full week after the September 21 launch date. The same is the case in the UK, Canada, Germany and Australia.

We’ve seen it all before: when the iPhone 4S launched last year, the company ran out of pre-order stock then too. On that occasion, it extended the order time to as much as four weeks.

For once, this may not be a an attempt to whip up the hype. There have long been rumors of problems with Apple’s supply chain. As recently as last month, indeed, there were claims that Sharp hadn’t even started mass-producing the new phone’s screens.

Other than waiting in line at a real-world store – Apple stores will open at 8.00am – buyers can turn to one of the carriers. Verizon and Sprint are still promising the phone with a September 21 delivery date, for example, as is AT&T – although the latter’s site has been having problems.

What’s not in doubt is that, delays or no delays, the company’s likely to shift millions of the new phones. Some analysts are preducting that it could sell as many as ten million by the end of the quarter.

“With Apple’s strong existing relationships with a number of major carriers, the new iPhone model promises great potential sales for the 4Q holiday shopping season, even in the face of new LTE-capable devices from Samsung, HTC, Nokia and Motorola also being launched in 4Q,” says David McQueen, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.