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.

Top Rated Comments

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114 months ago
Egg-on-face to all those that said the 4S would flop.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
This should put to rest any doubts about sustained demand. Nothing's changed. Insane demand for the iPhone hasn't abated at all in over three years. And Apple hasn't exactly been pushing the absolute boundaries in terms of raw specs. Hell, the 3GS outsold every Android smartphone in Q3.

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/npd_iphone_3gs_outsold_every_android_smartphone_in_q3/

It's all about the software. Without that as perfect as possible the device is just an agglomeration of parts.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago
Projections

I wonder if Apple will hit 40 million iPhone units this quarter. Including the 4s, 4, and 3GS. That would completely decimate the current earnings estimates

Hats off to the Apple team for an amazing, worldwide rollout across so many countries and carriers. Very impressive. Steve would be proud!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago

BS. It's a simple Supply-Demand model. If there is a demand and seller can't meet that demand, it's called supply shortage as in production shortage. Demand outweighs supply due to shortage in production.


Not necessarily. There can be a shortage because retailers don't order enough phones even though the manufacturer produced enough. Which might be why this thread is about *carrier* backlogs and not shortages at the Apple store.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago

Lol, what does that have to do with the article? That was funny how random that was.


Since we are at important information sharing:

My dog yawns and stretches in the morning.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago

What's the difference? If demand outstrips supply, Apple hasn't produced enough. Period. Frankly it's a good problem to have if you're Apple but Apple is certainly walking that fine line between customers wanting the phone but settling for something else because they need to wait to get it.


I think most people who want the iPhone will wait. People who were on the fence might not and opt for something else if they are really itching to have a new device and/or their current phone is broken/unusable.

They might not like it. But they'll wait.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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