Apple iPhone 4S Supply Scarce For Launch Day

iPhone 4S may be in short supply when it launches on October 14, based on checks of Apple's carrier partner websites.
The Apple iPhone 4S goes on sale at Apple retail stores on Friday, October 14. The new smartphone is also being sold by AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless.

Apple and U.S. carrier partners began accepting preorders for the iPhone 4S at 12:01 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, October 7. AT&T's online store was overwhelmed instantly, and many consumers complained of difficulty placing orders for several hours. By noon on October 7, AT&T said that more than 200,000 preorders were placed for the iPhone 4S. AT&T said Apple's latest smartphone was seeing "extraordinary demand."

A check of Apple's Web store on Saturday showed that all variants of the device wouldn't ship for one to two weeks--meaning Apple sold through the initial stock available to first-day buyers. Orders placed via Apple's Web store now won't ship for three to four weeks.

Earlier this week, Apple announced that the iPhone 4S had been pre-ordered more than one million times from its Web store. iPhone 4S handsets that were pre-ordered are scheduled for delivery on October 14.

Apple's carrier partners all saw brisk pre-orders of the device. Checks of the carrier Web sites show that most models will not be available for delivery on launch day, and will instead ship in several weeks.

What's not clear is how much stock of the iPhone 4S will be available at Apple, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless stores on October 14.

When the iPhone 4 launched in June of 2010, I arrived at my local Apple store at 5 a.m. (three hours before the doors opened), and there were already about 100 people ahead of me in line. Lines have already started to form at Apple stores around the world, including in Japan.

Those who haven't pre-ordered the iPhone 4S and are hoping to score one at a retail store on launch day should be prepared for long lines, long wait times, and the distinct possibility that the phone won't be available in sufficient numbers.

The iPhone 4S has a dual-core 1-GHz A5 processor; 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, flash, and 1080p HD video capture; HSPA+/CDMA, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0 radios; Siri personal assistant, and iOS 5. It maintains the same size, shape, design, and appearance of the iPhone 4.

The 16-GB model costs $199, the 32-GB model costs $299, and the 64-GB model costs $399.

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