High demand still resulting in weeks-long delays on iPhone 4S units

Nov 18, 2011
Tech

It has been more than a month since Apple, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T started selling the iPhone 4S, and demand is still outstripping Apple’s ability to supply the device to all the people who want to buy it. According to a story from the Wall Street Journal, would-be iPhone 4S owners have to wait at […]

It has been more than a month since Apple, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T started selling the iPhone 4S, and demand is still outstripping Apple’s ability to supply the device to all the people who want to buy it.

According to a story from the Wall Street Journal, would-be iPhone 4S owners have to wait at least several weeks to receive the device, even though it first went on sale at the beginning of October. At Sprint, the wait is two weeks; at AT&T, three weeks; and at Verizon, three or more weeks.

The trouble is that demand is far and away more than any of the carriers or even Apple anticipated for the iPhone 4S, the telecom companies are saying. All three are experiencing extremely high demand for the device, and that’s causing major delays for everyone, they say. It’s not some supply chain or manufacturing issues on Apple’s part, as some have suggested. An AT&T representative told the WSJ that the iPhone 4S is setting sales records for the company.

Apple experienced iPhone sales that dropped by about 30 million units year-over-year during the quarter that ended on Sept. 30. Apple and others have blamed the imminent announcement of the iPhone 4S: customers, they say, were waiting on the new device rather than buying an old one. Given the demand for the latest iPhone that we’re continuing to see, that argument makes sense. It makes one wonder how different numbers are likely be when this quarter comes to a close, with iPhone 4S sales fully tallied. One analyst from Morgan Keegan estimates Apple could sell 27 million of the devices in just this quarter alone.

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Cellular carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint haven’t laid out just how many iPhone 4S units they’ve sold – they won’t give away that information until their next quarterly earnings reports. According to the WSJ story, Verizon is working with Apple to raise supply, and AT&T says it isn’t doing so bad on meeting demand: it usually is getting iPhone 4S units into customers’ hands within 10 days, it says. If demand for the iPhone 4S really does turn out to be as high as everyone expects, the next quarter is going to be an interesting one for the mobile landscape. Though Samsung surpassed Apple during the last quarter as the leading smartphone manufacturer in the world by revenue, it’s anybody’s game next quarter, with the iPhone 4S bolstering Apple’s position. We’ll have to wait and see just how high those iPhone sales records are being set.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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