Despite a later-than-expected launch and a handset that that is physically almost the same as its predecessor, demand for Apple’s iPhone 4S smartphone is reportedly outpacing supply. In a research note on Monday, Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst William Power wrote that numerous Best Buy retail stores around the country are sold of iPhone 4S handsets. While preliminary supply volumes at the nationwide retail giant are unknown, Power calls Best Buy stock-outs a litmus test for iPhone sales performance across all U.S. retailers. Read on for more.
“[The iPhone 4S] is sold out at the vast majority of stores that we checked with, with many stores notifying customers of device shortages in their automatic greetings,” Power wrote in his note to investors. The analyst also said that Best Buy stores are now taking reservation orders for new iPhone 4S handset shipments.
BGR’s own checks with a dozen Best Buy store locations in and around New York City found that many locations were sold out of iPhone 4S models, while some stores currently only have inventory for customers who pre-ordered a phone. We were also unable in most cases to get straight answers regarding when additional inventory was expected.
Sales representatives at several different Best Buy locations across the region told us Apple hasn’t indicated when it might be able to replenish iPhone 4S inventory, with one replying, “We really have no idea. Apple can’t build these things fast enough.” Representatives at three different locations told us new iPhone 4S shipments were expected later this week, but would probably be available by reservation only.
In terms of direct sales from carrier locations, Sprint confirmed earlier this month that the iPhone launch was its “best ever day of sales,” and AT&T activated more than 1 million iPhone 4S handsets within one week. Apple said it sold more than 4 million handsets across seven launch markets during the first weekend of iPhone 4S availability.