Cupertino needs to have long lines of people queuing outside shops to buy the phone to create the illusion of interest in the lack-lustre product.
The iPhone 5 was greeted with a large yawn from the normally faithful tech press which sees it as behind Samsung and other smartphones.
The whole pre-orders sell out is just bizarre. As the Sydney Morning Herald points out, Apple gets two stories out of the supply fiasco - 'pre-orders sellout' and 'queues around the block on launch day'.
Aussie journalist Matthew Powell said Apple CEO Tim Cook was one of the smartest operations guys in the business so "would have known exactly how many units were required and where they needed to be allocated".
In other words, it is all a game. To make matters worse Apple has a nack of making sure that its pre-order system is slower than the queue.
Powell said he would never pre-order again after he ordered an iPad 2 that was supposed to be delivered on launch day but took three weeks to arrive.
Apple actually wants to sell 6 million or more units globally by the end of its first weekend and 58 million by the end of the year.
Not only does the phone do less than its rivals, most of the functions which the iPhone 5 actually has are not available outside the US. So one would have to be a pretty daft Brit to actually queue for a phone which does half of what it says on the tin.
Iain McDonald, founder of digital marketing agency Amnesia, said that it's all part of the spectacle that Apple loves to create around its products.
It was an old marketing trick first used by nightclub owners who make people queue up outside even though the club inside is half empty.
He said that Apple's queues outside at launch has has become part of the company's brand. If there were no lines, that could be considered a failure to launch and may have a huge impact on subsequent sales.