Apple Sees iPhone 3GS Shortages - InformationWeek

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Mobile // Mobile Devices
01:47 PM

Apple Sees iPhone 3GS Shortages

The company has rolled out an online inventory-tracking tool showing how many iPhone 3GS handsets remain in Apple's retail stores.

Apple's iPhone 3GS
(click for image gallery)

Apple is struggling to keep up with demand for the iPhone 3GS, and is experiencing wide-scale shortages of the touch-screen smartphone.

The company has brought back its iPhone inventory-tracking tool which enables users to see how many units are available in any given Apple retail store. The tool indicates that the 16 GB version in white appears to be the most popular seller, but Apple said it is shipping more units daily, and the tool will be updated hourly.

The phone maker used this tracking tool last year after the launch of its iPhone 3G, which also faced shortages thanks to its popularity with consumers. The tool only tracks the stock at Apple's brick-and-mortar stores. The phone is also available at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, AT&T retail stores, and Apple's Web site.

While the shortages may frustrate some potential customers, Apple likely sees the overwhelming demand as a success. When the iPhone 3GS was introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference, it was met with a mixed reaction from the press and online communities. Many saw Apple's latest smartphone as an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, upgrade of the iPhone lineup.

Additionally, many early-adopters of the iPhone 3G were upset by pricing because they had to pay a $200 premium to get the latest iPhone. While AT&T altered its upgrade policy for certain users, many existing AT&T customers were not eligible for the $199 and $299 prices.

None of those issues has made a significant dent in iPhone 3GS sales. The touch-screen smartphone sold more than one million units in its debut weekend. By comparison, the highly-anticipated Palm Pre launched a few weeks earlier, by Palm and Sprint Nextel sold about 50,000 units during its debut weekend.

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