iPhone 4S Sells Strong, Wins Consumer Reports Nod
Consumer Reports, which famously panned the iPhone 4, gives the hot-selling iPhone 4S a tentative thumbs up.
Looking at Apple.com, all iPhone models listed for sale show shipping times of one to two weeks. Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore says that retail stores are selling out of stock daily due to the strong demand.
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"Our retail checks reveal Apple is experiencing daily stock outs at [about] 85% to 90% of the [approx] 30 retail stores we called," he wrote in a note to clients. "Apple employees are directing customers to make an online appointment (first come first serve) for next day pick up at nearby Apple retail stores as stocks appear to be refreshed daily at most locations."
Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White concurs that the iPhone 4S is selling like hotcakes. In his own note to clients, White claims that iPhone 4S preorders in Hong Kong sold out within 10 minutes. Preorders for the iPhone 4S got underway in Hong Kong on Friday, Nov. 4 and the device reaches retail stores on Friday, Nov. 11.
[Google's board chairman told the U.S. Senate the iPhone 4S voice-recognition app is a competitive threat. Learn why: iPhone's Siri Threatens Google, Schmidt Says.]
White believes the Chinese market will play a critical role in Apple's growth in regions outside of North America and Europe. He notes that Apple's China-based revenue in its most recent quarter totaled $4.5 billion, or 16% of Apple's total sales.
"Apple's newest smart phone performed very well in our tests, and while it closely resembles the iPhone 4 in appearance, it doesn't suffer the reception problem we found in its predecessor in special tests in our labs," wrote Consumer Reports. "In special reception tests of the iPhone 4S that duplicated those we did on the iPhone 4, the newer phone did not display the same reception flaw, which involves a loss of signal strength when you touch a spot on the phone's lower left side while you're in an area with a weak signal."
Consumer Reports said its test units rated "very good" battery life, despite consumer complaints about the iPhone 4S's battery life. That won't stop Consumer Reports from retesting the issue once the fix is out.
"Apple has said the culprit is 'a few bugs' in its latest mobile operating system, iOS 5, and promised a software update to address the problem later this month. We plan to retest both phones with the software update when it is available, just in case the fix itself affects battery performance in any way."
(Here are a few case recommendations if your iPhone 4S is having battery trouble.)
Consumer Reports also credited the iPhone 4S's improved camera, faster processor, and Siri personal assistant as factors leading to its recommendation.
Even though Consumer Reports now "recommends" the iPhone 4S, the publication places the latest Apple smartphone behind a large number of Android-based smartphones. It rates the Samsung Galaxy S II, Motorola Droid Bionic, and LG Thrill as better buys than the iPhone 4S thanks to their faster wireless network performance, larger displays, and unique features, such as 3-D image/video capture.
HTC and Samsung recently passed Apple to become the largest and second-largest sellers of smartphones in the United States, respectively. Analysts disagree on whether Samsung will retain its top ranking, as demand for the iPhone 4S could give Apple the top spot come the end of the fourth quarter.
The Enterprise Connect "Phone, Tablets, Smartphones--Who Gets What In Your Enterprise?" virtual event will help you sort through the choices that are out there today. It happens Nov. 16. Sign up now. (Free with registration.)