U.S. Carriers Still Struggling to Meet iPhone 4S Demand
The Wall Street Journal reports on continuing shortages of the iPhone 4S at U.S. carriers, more than a month after the device went on sale. Carriers indicate that the shortages are due to very strong customer demand rather than any shortfall in Apple's production.
Verizon Wireless customers may have to wait more than three weeks for the device, according to the carrier’s website. That compares with as much as 21 days at AT&T and up to 14 days at Sprint Nextel. While some tech blogs have suggested Apple’s manufacturing isn’t keeping pace, the carriers point to unexpectedly strong demand for the handset.
“We are having some supply issues in the sense that demand’s huge,” AT&T’s president of emerging devices, Glenn Lurie, said Wednesday. “We have had just record-breaking sales on it.”
Apple typically prioritizes its own distribution channels in the face of tight supplies, but even its online store is citing shipping estimates of 1-2 weeks on iPhone 4S orders, while its retail stores are utilizing a reservation system to manage the tight supplies. Through the system, customers are able to reserve iPhone 4S units each night from the available stock at their local store, stopping by the following day to make their purchase. Any unreserved stock is then made available for walk-in purchase, although even reservation customers have been having some difficulty finding availability of the popular device.
Apple sold a record-setting four million iPhone 4S units in its opening weekend, and the company is confident that it will see record sales for the iPhone during the current quarter. In addition to the strong sales in its launch markets, Apple has also been pursuing an aggressive international rollout for the iPhone 4S. With two new rounds of international launches having occurred since the original seven-country debut on October 14th, the iPhone 4S is now available in 44 countries around the world.