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(Pocket-lint) - Reports are coming out suggesting that pre-order numbers for the iPhone 5C from Apple have not matched previous generations with network operators claiming that in the UK they are disappointed with the numbers of pre-orders received. The Guardian's sources say that they are far lower than originally expected.

"It's been a big disappointment," one mobile network source told the newspaper. "We are seeing a decline in the number of pre-orders. They are 60 per cent to 70 per cent less than we were expecting, and we didn't expect them to be massively high given it's not the flagship model."

Read: Apple iPhone 5C review

Pocket-lint has also heard from our own sources that day-one customers are opting for the more expensive but better specified iPhone 5S instead, and as Apple only allowed networks and UK retailers to offer the 5C for pre-order, that will explain the expected poor pre-sale figures - not that Apple is likely to break them out anyway. But that doesn't mean that the iPhone 5C has been a failure.

We believe that the more-colourful minor upgrade to the iPhone 5 will find a new market when the dust has settled. It's all about the long game for Apple's mid-level device. The Apple customer that is likely to queue is also likely to want the latest technology and for Apple that's the iPhone 5S. 

One expert analyst told The Guardian that the iPhone 5C could even outsell the 5S in the long term. "I believe the 5C will be larger than for the 5S. They can address new users who like colourful handsets, and also the current iPhone users. If people upgrade they don't want a device that looks exactly the same as their previous one," said IDC's Francisco Jerónimo.

Read: Apple iPhone 5S review

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Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 19 September 2013.