This prediction comes from Piper's Gene Munster, who says that Apple didn't correctly predict the initial demand for the product and has been left without stock to sell. Indeed, a quick check of the Apple iPhone finder tool shows that barely more than one in four Apple stores across the United States had any iPhones in stock yesterday.
Why four weeks? Munster believes four weeks is the lead time Apple needs to ramp up orders and get new units delivered to its stores. "I bet we'll see these problems for another two to four weeks. Early demand has been more than they expected. There were outages last year, but not to this extent. This is a more sustained outage, and the demand seems to be sustained. Sales internationally have taken inventory away from the U.S.," he said.
According to Macworld, "As of 1 a.m. EDT Thursday, 50 of Apple's 188 retail stores, or 27%, showed iPhone 3Gs available for sale." The black 16-GB model appears to be the most popular version of the phone, which comes in black and white, and 8 GB and 16 GB sizes.
AT&T also is pretty much emptied-out of iPhone inventory. So if you thought you'd skip the crowds opening weekend and grab the phone after the hysteria dies down, looks like you're in for a longer wait than you probably anticipated.