For this week’s release of the much-hyped iPhone 5s, Apple abandoned its usual pre-order policy for customers in the U.S. If inside sources at multiple American carriers are correct, those hoping to purchase an iPhone 5s at launch may be forced to wait in staggeringly long lines or miss out entirely – a trend that is likely to be seen worldwide. Low stock from Apple may be to blame for the shortages.
“We will have grotesquely unavailable inventory,” said one carrier source, according to All Things D. “A source at a second carrier also complained of extremely disappointing shipments from Apple, but said that demand for the high-end iPhone may also be slightly less than initially thought, too. Apparently it is the colors of the iPhone 5c that seem to have captured more customers’ eyes.”
Both of the new iPhone models will be available this Friday, September 20. Supply issues seem to be attributed to the iPhone 5s only – pre-orders for the colorful plastic iPhone 5c are still open on Apple’s website.
The limited availability of the iPhone 5s may also extend to Apple’s brick-and-mortar retail outlets, with the new gold model likely being the most sought-after.
“According to sources at several large Apple Stores across the country, about 70 to 80 percent of new iPhones stocked for the launch on Friday are the iPhone 5c,” reported 9to5Mac. “The iPhone 5s will be available in limited quantity, and Apple is expecting the Space Gray model to be most popular … an average of three out of every four units will be a Space Gray model. The white/silver and white/gold options will be hard to come by at launch.”
Although pre-orders for the iPhone 5s were unavailable to American customers, buyers in China were able to reserve the high end smartphone from September 17. By text messaging a local number set up by Apple, Chinese consumers could receive confirmation codes that would allow them to place a reservation on Apple’s website.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly, every model of the 5s appears to be sold out at almost every Apple Store in China already, both on contract and off,” said BGR. “The gold 5s was the first to go out of stock. This might signal a similar trend once the phone launches around the world.”
It seems that a Japanese businessman who made international headlines for camping out in front of a Tokyo Apple Store – ten days before the product launch – may not be so crazy after all.